Sunday, March 02, 2008

Fruits and Vegetables - Not On Our Land

Wow. I didn't realize politics played such a suppressing role in getting fruits and vegetables on the table.

Here's a little Op-Ed piece that appeared in the New York Times yesterday. It was written by Jack Hedrin, an organic vegetable farmer from Minnesota:

My Forbidden Fruits (and Vegetables)

Jack was growing his fruits and vegetables on 100 acres. People wanted more of what Jack grew. So, Jack rented 25 acres from neighboring farms. Unfortunately, those 25 acres were from established corn farms (although corn was not being grown on them at the time)... and:
"The [USDA's] commodity farm program effectively forbids farmers who usually grow corn or the other four federally subsidized commodity crops (soybeans, rice, wheat and cotton) from trying fruit and vegetables."
There are big penalties for farmers who break this rule, as Jack found out.

Adding manure to the crap pile:
"National fruit and vegetable growers based in California, Florida and Texas fear competition from regional producers. ... Through their control of Congressional delegations from those states, they have been able to virtually monopolize the country’s fresh produce markets."
With obstacles like this, it doesn't look like organic, locally-grown fruits and vegetables will be seeing a bumper crop anytime soon.

Photo of Filasky Farm's produce stand from Filasky Farm, NY.

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