Agriculture policy needs to support health policy: Fruits and vegetables!
Posted Aug 08 2013 9:40am
The Union of Concerned Scientists (UCS) released a new report yesterday: “The $11 trillion reward: How simple dietary changes can save lives and money, and how we get there.”
Never mind the hype ($11 trillion? That’s too big to understand). Whatever the real number, the report makes one thing clear: if we don’t get healthier, health care costs will rise. A lot.
To stay healthy, we need to eat more fruits and vegetables (F&V). But that’s not so easy. They are relatively expensive, not always easy to deal with, and thoroughly unsupported by federal agricultural policy.
To fix that, UCS calls for federal policies to:
Increase research on F&V.
Remove planting restrictions that stop commodity farmers from growing F&V.
Make crop insurance available for F&V producers.
Make healthy, locally grown food more available and accessible.
Promote the growth of farmers markets, local food outlets.
Facilitate the use of SNAP benefits at local food markets.
Educate consumers about F&V and how to prepare them.