Last week's Victual Reality column startled a lot of sustainable-food advocates, particularly folks not immersed in the details of U.S. farm policy. Subsidies, I argued, do not cause the ravages of industrial agriculture; rather, subsidies are a symptom of a food policy gone wrong. Moreover, I continued, gutting subsidies won't end the ubiquity of cheap and empty calories in the U.S. diet; or stop the devastation of waterways from fertilizer runoff; or make CAFOs unprofitable; or treat any of the other ills of industrial agriculture. I concluded that reckless attempts to end subsidies should not be seen as a panacea, …
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