Organic Consumers Association

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The Local Food, Farms And Jobs Act

For related articles and more information, please visit OCA's Farm Issues page, USDA Watch page, and our Politics and Democracy page.

Let's hear it for Democrats Chellie Pingree and Sherrod Brown, who last week introduced the Local Food, Farms and Jobs Act as part of the 2012 Farm Bill. The Act will increase funding to small farmers pursuing national organic certification and to underserved communities seeking greater access to fresh, local produce. This legislation will not work miracles, but it will provide some badly needed aid to America's small and local farmers and the people they serve -- us.

What's really encouraging is the us part. This political act reflects real grass roots change. We're taking a more active role in the food we eat. Back in 1825, Jean Anthelme Brillat-Savarin, author of the seminal work The Physiology of Taste gave us the phrase, "Tell me what you eat and I shall tell you what you are." He also said, "Food is anything which nourishes us."

Brillat-Savarin had no idea of what would try to pass itself off as food a few centuries later. Processed food is anything but local and in most cases anything but nourishing. It's come at a cost to our health and hasn't helped the environment or our floundering economy.

On the other hand, real, nourishing food comes with real, nourishing fringe benefits. As Tara Garnett of the Food Climate Research Network puts it, "Broadly speaking, eating fewer meat and dairy products and consuming more plant foods in their place is probably the single most helpful behavioral shift one can make" to reduce food-related greenhouse gas emissions."

Garnett is a big advocate of government leading the effort to shape global food policy and curb climate change. She must be cheering on the Local Food, Farms and Jobs Act. I sure am, and I'm also cheering on the farmers it will help and the force that spurred its creation -- us. 

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