Friday, July 27, 2007

Do you live in a farm state?

Well, the Farm Bill is all over the news now that it is being considered on the floor of the house. There was a story on my local Fox affiliate (I watch it for the weather) a few nights ago, and I stayed in bed an extra quarter hour this morning to hear the NPR coverage. Things have heated up on the ecunet list "Farm Bill", too.

It's interesting to me that issues are not covered until they come to a head legislatively, when your average citizen can't do much about it. Interesting, but not surprising. We are a nation of consumers, not citizens - we consume our news, rather than using it to shape our lives and common will.

But I digress.

The most interesting thing in the Morning Edition piece was a reference to how Nancy Pelosi had to consider farm state interests. Apparently neither Nancy nor the NPR folks realize that she IS from a farm state. Where do they think the lettuce, spinach, nuts, wine and cheese come from?

Really, there is this bias, which comes up on the ecunet (actually Luther Link) list, too - that farming is about the Midwest.

I spent a day with two high school classmates this week, one from Florida and one from Southern California. We were viewing Sonoma County cows and talking about the Happy Cow ad campaign - and the Floridian said she had only recently heard of California cheese. Where she lives it's only about Wisconsin.

California has been the leading dairy state for years, and is catching up with Wisconsin in quantity of cheese produced. California also excels in the variety of cheeses offered, including Mexican style and artisan.

(In checking the facts on California cheese, I stumbled upon a web site called America Eats with all sorts of interesting articles. Link to the right - check it out!)

And finally to the point - if we all thought of ourselves as coming from "farm states" wouldn't it make a difference in the way we develop policy and programs? Wouldn't it make a difference in food security? Wouldn't it make a difference in the environmental impact of our growing, sourcing and eating practices?

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