Photo: ValerieThe Ag Committees, House and Senate
When people start fantasizing about how to fix the U.S. food system, they typically wake up at the Farm Bill, the nightmarishly complex legislation that rears up twice a decade to shape food policy. These naive would-be reformers think to themselves: All we need to do is make the Farm Bill stop propping up ruinous commodity farming, and start supporting production of healthy food for people to eat. Well, that two-headed, yet seemingly brainless monster known as the Congressional ag committees eats such naive reformers for breakfast. Fattened by steady influxes of agrichemical industry cash (House here, Senate here), the beast has successfully torched any Farm Bill reforms. The Congressional ag committees also savaged the Waxman-Markey climate bill last year, and just this summer ensured that the schoolkids who need access to good food most will instead keep munching on junk from its agribiz sponsors. Like most monsters, we suspect this one just needs the right knight to step up. President Obama, please quit crouching in the corner and hoping Michelle can sweet-talk the beast to move out of its foul cave!