Event Preview: Food + Justice = Democracy

If you are on any type of local food listserv in Minnesota, you’ve received an invitation, or two, or ten to the Institute for Agriculture and Trade Policy’s Food + Justice = Democracy national meeting, convening September 24 -26 in downtown Minneapolis.

IATP’s goals for the convergence are lofty; the conference is billed as a national meeting to change the food justice narrative, where “participants will co-create a national food justice platform to push our government and our political leaders to prioritize a fair, just and healthy food system.”

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Changing the Country One Student At a Time

"When schools become a model of what would be a healthy meal, then we are going to improve overall children's health." --Lynn Mader.

The other day I chatted with Lynn Mader, an IATP (Institute for Agriculture and Trade Policy) staff member who works on the Farm to School program in Minnesota. We talked about the successes and challenges of the program and how it is working to bring positive change to our community, to our state and to our country.

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Toxic Theatre

When I think of red carpet events, I know one thing for sure: I'm not invited. So imagine my surprise when I discovered a press release in my inbox inviting me to an event with the aforementioned floor covering. I read further and it began to make sense. Spoof, satire, deadly serious. I could not resist.


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Understanding the Farm Bill Starts Here: All Our Articles in One Handy Place

The 2012 Farm Bill, a wide ranging bill that covers sustainable farming, organic food, big ag, food accessibility, and much, much more, will affect each and every one of us. Sadly, most people don't understand what it is or why it matters, and even fewer feel empowered to get involved and make a difference. Over the past several months, Simple, Good, and Tasty has published a series of articles about the Farm Bill, attempting explaining the issues in basic, understandable terms. These include:

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Understanding the Farm Bill: Who Benefits From the Current Commodity Programs?

In my last Farm Bill post, I wrote about the argument for directly subsidizing agricultural production: farm income is erratic, and in order to keep farmers in the business of supplying the food and fiber we all need, they must be guaranteed an adequate income. Under the current system, farmers are given direct payments simply for growing an eligible crop, such as corn or soybeans. In years when prices fall below the target price for a particular crop, they also receive countercyclical payments. 

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Understanding the Farm Bill: Good Soil and the Programs that Protect It

During the summer after my junior year of college, I worked on a farm near Postville, Iowa. That summer I spent many sweaty, happy hours harvesting pounds of peas, potatoes, spinach, cabbage, and nearly every other vegetable you can think of, but the farmer always said we were less in the business of growing vegetables than of growing soil. This statement might sound strange at first – it’s easy to think of farmers as producing crops and livestock to eat, use, and sell – but farmers are also charged with the equally important role of being stewards of the land. After all, good soil is essential for plant productivity, which forms the basis of our health and economic wellbeing.

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A Farm Bill Primer: Getting Ready for 2012

As a child of the Midwest, I’ve been surrounded by farms and farmers my whole life. Most of my immigrant forebears were farmers, and there’s a good chance that yours were, too. Although I’ve chosen a city lot instead of my grandfather’s alfalfa fields (at least for now), I’m quite interested in what will happen in the 2012 Farm Bill. The Farm Bill affects not just farmers, but everyone who eats -- and that’s all of us. The bill, with its grand scope and billions of dollars, will help define what we eat (and, thus, who we are) in thousands of subtle ways.

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The Troubling Facts Surrounding “Troubled Waters”

A locally-produced film has been stirring up plenty of controversy in Minnesota’s agricultural and education communities. “Troubled Waters: A Mississippi River Story” is a documentary produced by the University of Minnesota’s Bell Museum about pollution and water contamination in the Mississippi River and Gulf of Mexico.

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Understanding the Farm Bill: A Citizen's Guide to a Better Food System

A couple of months ago, I was chatting with my friend Mark Muller, who runs the Food and Society Fellows program for the Institute For Agriculture and Trade Policy (IATP). I'd just gotten back from one of several meetings about food policy I'd attended with a variety of local dignitaries, politicians, and other movers and shakers, and I was frustrated by what I'd heard. Mark, as always, was a terrific sounding board, offering the experience and perspective of a man who'd heard it all before without becoming jaded.

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IATP Leads the Way to Food Access in the Twin Cities

Sometimes I forget how cool it is to live in the Twin Cities. Oh, I'm proud of our lakes, trails, trees, farmers, restaurants, and all. But sometimes I take it all for granted, forgetting just how special this place really is. That's why sometimes it fun to get out of here and experience things from someone else's point of view.

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