“Edible Media” takes an occasional look at interesting or deplorable food journalism.

In Alabama, farmers are going broke, squeezed between low prices their goods receive in commodity markets and rising costs for fuel and other inputs. Meanwhile, obesity and diabetes rates surge among low-income African-Americans, whose food dollars tend to to flow to highly processed food.

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In short, commodity food markets are failing both groups. In a piece in the latest Nation, Mark Winne shows (subscription wall) that smart public policy at the state level is helping farmers and low-income consumers buck the system, to the benefit of both.

Full disclosure: Winne, a veteran journalist and food-justice activist, has been a role model as I launch a career in food writing.

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His latest article, typically, has much to teach anyone interested in learning how food policy reinforces a dysfunctional system — and how it could also be used to leverage efforts to create sustainable, healthy food networks throughout the country.