Friday, May 27, 2011

A New Approach to the Farm Bill?

I've had a thought the last few days, thinking about the farm bill.

What about a concentrated effort at activating Midwest Expatriates to influence their hometowns' residents to understand and voice opinions about the farm bill to their legislators? I get the sense that the coasts' influence on the bill will be negligible since none of our Senators are on any of the agriculture committees. And I imagine that Michael Pollan-reading liberals don't have a lot of cachet with the Senators that are...

So what if we were to create a campaign, within our communities, to encourage transplants (those who escaped the corn fields for supposedly better pastures---ooh I couldn't help the puns!) to reach out to their friends, family, neighbors, from back home. By opening up those lines of communication, and cross-educating consumer-to-producer and back, perhaps we will find unlikely allies in the Red States that can actually influence the course of the farm bill?

I also get the sense, due to folks like Brad Wilson, that there are lots of farmers out there (the kind vilified by many well meaning food system activists) who understand that the food system is broken, and are looking for solutions to it that don't harm themselves in the process (as would be the case should subsidies be dismantled, with no other associated reforms to pricing, for example). Citizens representing (most dominantly) consumer interests have an opportunity to be making alliances with citizens representing the few farmers we have left.

For one good example of farmers who should be supported in their work, check out the National Family Farmer Coalition.

This may be too hopeful, but I think it's a tactic worth investigating...

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