Fair Food Network’s Oran Hesterman and Kate Fitzgerald co-hosted Hazon’s first Farm Bill webinar on July 20th. Twenty attendees from Florida to California watched an informative presentation about Farm Bill history, implementation and impact and participated in a question and answer session touching on issues from kashrut to conservation.
Fitzgerald first discussed the early years of Farm Policy, beginning with the establishment of an independent Department of Agriculture in 1862 and moving into the Depression era and its long-term effects. She then discussed the farm bill’s evolution and its 15 varied and complex titles (or sections), revealing what the bill does and does not cover. We learned that the bill contains billions of dollars in funds for agricultural subsidies and farm relief programs, hunger relief and emergency food aid, environmental conservation programs and many other government programs.
Check back on Wednesday for an editorial on “Fair Food” and a podcast with author Oran Hesterman.
My first Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) pick up of fresh, local, organic veggies, is a few days away. In mid-winter, I plunked down $550, signed up for my volunteer slots, and felt good that I was voting with my fork for a healthier, more sustainable food system.
During the 2011 growing season, I’m joined by a network of 56 Hazon CSAs and thousands more CSAs across the country. While I am excited for the season to begin, I’m aware of the many people don’t have access to a CSA or even to a grocery store. According to one USDA study on food deserts, “more than 57 percent of people living in low income neighborhoods have limited physical access to supermarkets or grocery stores.”
Our food system is broken. Joining a CSA is a great first step, and there is more we can do in order to fix it.