While Congress battles it out over health care reform, the resulting government shutdown will have far-reaching impacts on food safety, environmental protections, food production and farming. It also has serious implications for the health and nutrition of many Americans.
Farmers are doing their jobs. USDA did their jobs. Now Congress, by not doing their job, may be costing more 1,400 farmers their farms. Farmers are finding themselves in this last-hope situation because of many factors, often not under their control.
Don't worry veterans, you might not get your educational and rehabilitation benefits, but it could be worse. Actually it will be worse if this goes on for more than a few weeks, but let's not go there. Tune in next week, what's next? Witch hunts?
The USDA apparently cares enough to have cited these labs over and over again, expecting at the very least rudimentary animal care, but it is woefully inadequate at fining, inspecting, and citing labs.
When we blew out the candles on our Tongass birthday cake this year, we made a very specific wish -- that the Forest Service finally make good on its promise to stop devastating large-scale industrial logging, transition away from old-growth logging, and protect America's rainforest for the future.
When you purchase chicken at the grocery store, you might have the perfectly reasonable expectation that the poultry you are buying was raised on an American farm, and that it was inspected by a government official. Well, lower your expectations.
Hopefully, as the problem of food deserts and swamps gains greater recognition, communities will implement innovative and creative solutions. The USDA's Healthy Food Financing Initiative should focus on supporting this kind of innovation in communities across the country.
Subsidizing better choices in the grocery store is a lot less expensive than stays in the intensive care unit. We don't need to prevent very many cases of diabetes, heart disease or bariatric surgeries to save back the costs of incentives for nutritious foods, 10 times over.
Does nine servings a day sound like a heavy lift? Well, consider this: If we ate just one more serving a day -- one banana or a large carrot -- we would save $5 billion annually in health care expenditures and prevent more than 30,000 heart-related deaths.
The Lone Ranger, Iron Man (III), Superman -- all the summer blockbuster superheroes put together aren't going to save the world. That will take a particular kind of special effect -- cooling down our overheated planet and replenishing our damaged food supply.
Every year, the Hornes plant seeds, tie vines, harvest fruit, and place grapes in paper trays to create sun-dried raisins. And every year, the federal government prevents them from bringing their full harvest to market.
The days of the Commodity Exchanges functioning as casinos should be brought to a cataclysmic halt by forceful government action serving the interests of the public's well-being and sane economic policy.
Of course, the food industry isn't going to just walk away from the lucrative school snack market, but given that rigorous standard, it seems to me that any processed foods still sold in schools after 2016 should no longer fall into the empty-calorie, "better for you" junk food category.
The difference between spending a week restricted to a $31.50 food budget and actually living that reality daily is the difference between being on a waterslide and trying to survive onboard a sinking ship.