Articles by Ken Meter
Ken Meter, executive director of Crossroads Resource Center in Minneapolis, also had a previous life as an independent journalist covering food and trade issues. His pioneering work on food systems and the economics of food makes him one of the top food system analysts in the U.S. His "Finding Food in Farm Country" studies galvanized local foods activity in 45 regions in 20 states, and in one Canadian province. An international leader in sustainability measurement, he directed the public process for the award-winning Minneapolis sustainability plan. He also specializes in systems work, serving as an associate of Human Systems Dynamics Institute. You can learn more about his work at http://www.crcworks.org/ Follow
Although a recent Wall Street Journal report properly touts the impressive upward trend of organic-food sales, data cited in the story show that the actual rate of growth in organic sales is falling slightly, just as mega-retailers poise themselves to enter the organics market.
<img src="http://grist.org/images/home/2006/03/13/farmer-on-tractor_150.jpg" class="blog4" width="150" height="100"
America is scheduled to write a new farm bill in 2007. With the World Trade Organization ruling that our farm subsidies distort trade, and public expenses for flood relief and the war effort taxing the treasury, this could be a time of interesting shifts in how we view farm policy.
Moreover, both farmer and consumer groups say subsidies are harming Americans and developing nations (see Tom Philpott's fine story "I'm Hatin' It").
On the other hand, there are also signs that the same coalition of grain traders and producer groups will persuade Congress to extend the provisions of the existing farm bill for a few more years.
This gets me thinking about what a proper farm bill should do.
The first thing to note is: We don't need a farm bill in 2007. We need a food bill, or a rural development bill. We need to invest in communities, not commodities.
A little over a year ago The Wall Street Journal (31 Jan 2005) reported that the U.S. would become a net food importer on a more or less permanent basis by the end of 2005. To me, this is an immense challenge to our food security, but also marks a great opportunity for the U.S. to rebuild its food markets. I'm interested in how others see it.