There is a fascinating article from the New York Times a few days ago about the "Farm Bill". I have never head of this bill and in fact it largely shapes the state of our food in this country and what we eat.
The New York Times article is entitled "You are what your grow" and discusses things like how the cheaper foods are worse for you and why that causes more problems with being over-weight in the poor.
Excerpt: "For the answer, you need look no farther than the farm bill. This
resolutely unglamorous and head-hurtingly complicated piece of
legislation, which comes around roughly every five years and is about
to do so again, sets the rules for the American food system — indeed,
to a considerable extent, for the world’s food system. Among other
things, it determines which crops will be subsidized and which will
not, and in the case of the carrot and the Twinkie, the farm bill as
currently written offers a lot more support to the cake than to the
root. Like most processed foods, the Twinkie is basically a clever
arrangement of carbohydrates and fats teased out of corn, soybeans and
wheat — three of the five commodity crops that the farm bill supports,
to the tune of some $25 billion a year. (Rice and cotton are the
others.) For the last several decades — indeed, for about as long as
the American waistline has been ballooning — U.S. agricultural policy
has been designed in such a way as to promote the overproduction of
these five commodities, especially corn and soy."
The Times article is worth a read so take a look. There is also a great PDF you can download from the Food and Water Watch that discusses corporate influence in the Farm Bill. For you activist types, take a look at this Union of Concerned Scientists page where you can send a message to your elected officials about your concern for how the government tackles the problem of a sustainable agriculture model.
The Farm Bill - I certainly never knew it existed. But the food choices I see on a daily basis are directly related to it's contents.