Ecological Agriculture

Johnny - posted on 09/03/2010 ( 15 moms have responded )

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In the face of potential world-wide food shortages and the obesity epidemic for which high fructose corn syrup consumption is largely to blame, should federal government continue to subsidize high intensity corn growing or instead subsidize a return to less intensive farming practices and a greater variety of production?

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Tara - posted on 09/05/2010

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I think all food production should be moving toward a more local, sustainable practise of operation and distribution. Science has said that local food is healthier for us, local honey is more immune boosting than imported etc.
Massive, intense farming whether it's corn or meat is wrong on so many levels.
I read a book years ago called "diet for a small planet.: It still makes sense today.
There is more than enough space on the planet to grow sustainable crops that would put an end to international food famine.
Unfortunately we misuse the space we do have on crops and livestock that do nothing to better the environmental impact of farming nor do anything for the health of the populous.

Julie - posted on 09/04/2010

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I must disagree with this statement: "obesity epidemic for which high fructose corn syrup consumption is largely to blame"

What is to blame is folks taking in more calories than they use, pure and simple. A calorie is a calorie is a calorie!

If the government should subsidize anyone, IMO, it should be the smaller, family farms, NOT giant agribusiness. But we all know who has a stronger lobby, so I'm not gonna start holding my breath.

Johnny - posted on 09/04/2010

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Unfortunately, relying on organic to keep you safe from all the crap that they are putting in food won't work. If it is just USDA certified organic (and not from a more stringent not-for-profit certifier) the following is allowed:

- USDA rules don't require testing of organic produce or soil for synthetic fertilizers or pesticides

- the USDA allows 245 nonorganic ingredients in the production of organic foods (compared to 77 in 2002).

- in 2005 a federal court ruled that organics could not be made with synthetic ingredients. After lobbying by the major organic producers, Congress rewrote the law to permit more than 50 different synthetics.

- the premium of organic foods over conventional? Up to 350 %. The penalty for lying and falsely calling your product organic? $10,000.

Lack of regulation, strong lobbying from corporate food giants, and confusing certification standards are beginning to render organic rather useless. The only way to try to be safe is to buy from a local farmer, and then you're really just trusting that they are doing it right too.

The corn subsidy is one that really troubles me. It is easy to see a fairly direct line from corn subsidy, to low prices for corn, to increased use of high fructose corn syrup by food manufacturers, to the increase in the rates of obesity & diabetes.

Johnny - posted on 09/04/2010

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You are right that people taking in more calories than they burn is the real reason for the obesity epidemic. But high fructose corn syrup has been linked to a whole mess of issues around liver & pancreatic damage, along with type 2 diabetes. As well, the cheap availability of the product has meant that it is put into a huge array of low cost manufactured foods, and that many people are consuming way more calories than they realize. Lack of education is certainly also to blame, but many of the people suffering most from these issues do not have a lot of choices. Type 2 diabetes & organ damage from these foods happens to the skinny and the obese. The obesity just increases the risk. But not eating too much won't help if what you are eating is unhealthy food.

Isobel - posted on 09/03/2010

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I never understood why corn farming was worthy of being subsidized anyway...I think that farmers who are using genetically UNmodified seed and organic fertilizers should be subsidized as well as farmers who use their animal poop to create bio fuel.

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Pamela - posted on 09/06/2010

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King Corn is a great little documentary - it reveals so much in such an understated way...we no longer drink pop at home. I don't buy it. In fact, I now refer to it as "carbonated high fructose corn syrup". Occasionally if I'm traveling I'll eat fast food but I try to keep that infrequent. My number 1 goal in the kitchen is to provide food that is locally grown and as organic as I can get. The CSA that we're in is awesome - I know the farmers personally and I've been to their farm. I know how they grow their produce and I know it's totally organic. It isn't as convenient as heading over to the grocery store, but it sure is better.

There are different labels of organic. You can google and find out what they are. Anything that says "natural" on the label is probably a chemical storm.

The reason corn syrup is used in everything is because it's so cheap. It's cheaper than regular sugar. The industry calls it a flavor enhancer. But because it's in everything (processed, that is), we eat tons of it (even without meaning too).

I think localization of food is the direction we have to go in.

ME - posted on 09/05/2010

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Speaking of good documentaries...see King Corn...Without the corn subsidy corn farmers would always lose money. I come from a family of such farmers, and still think that the government subsidy is ridiculous.

I buy organic and local when I can, and I always read ingredients looking for corn syrup...I think it's gross...we don't drink soda in my house, and we don't eat fast food...

Rosie - posted on 09/05/2010

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coming from a state that producesa shit ton of corn, i'm a little torn on this one. it gives our farmers profit, and we have ALOT of farmers.
i do agree that it shouldn't be subsidized, but what is the alternative for the farmers? i'm genuinely curious, i'm much like dana and don't know how all this political stuff works. hehe. i don't like the idea of shafting the farmers, i know to many families would be affected by it.

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I don't know what the answer is but I am curious to follow this thread so this is my two cents so I get email alerts.

Tanya - posted on 09/04/2010

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Oh I would love to have a farm.

Does the gov still subsidize tobacco farms?

Dana - posted on 09/04/2010

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LOL, Iris, I've actually been entertaining the idea of having my own chickens and possibly a cow or two in the future.

Katherine - posted on 09/04/2010

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I don't like the idea of GMO either. I just stay away and buy organic.

Iris - posted on 09/04/2010

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I agree with Laura.
Watching documentaries like "Food inc" and "Food Matters" is really an eye opener. Not only are the animals pumped up with hormones but antibiotics too and they are kept so tight that they can't move an inch, and this is the food we are feeding our family. Lately I've been doing most of my shopping at Whole foods and Farmers markets because I'd rather eat a cow and a chicken that used to have a happy healthy life before it became my family's dinner.

Dana - posted on 09/03/2010

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Ooh, creepy, Tanya. :|



I fully agree too Laura.

I think that people are so used to doing things old school that they're really not thinking as far ahead as they should. This is one of my disappointments with President Obama, I thought there would be a freshness brought to the White House on how we do things or how we look at things.

Tanya - posted on 09/03/2010

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Yeah we have got to stop pumping everything full of hormones and whatever else they come up with.
We all need to return to a more simple way of eating and I think we would see a drop in so many sicknesses.

I mean fast food is clearing land in rain forests to make room for more cows. I once watched a show on the carbon footprint of a cheeseburger. Wow

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