Monday, July 16, 2012

SNAP at Farmers Markets

Today on DefendersLIVE we are rebroadcasting a show from June 13, 2011 in which I announced that farmers markets around Richmond were going to be able to accept SNAP benefits; in fact nearly 40 farmers markets and farm stands around the state gained the funding to make this available.

Chock full of good information and points of departure about food, there are also a few calendar items that are NO LONGER VALID - so please contact the Elegba Folklore Society about their mid-August Down Home Family Reunion and the Black History Museum and Cultural Center about their current exhibit, "Shackles" which runs through August 30, 2012.

Its interesting to listen to my old shows again. In this one I set up the idea that our "old ways of eating" are not so good for us anymore. I KNOW what I meant, but as a listener suddenly I heard the vagueness in the reference. The "old ways" I was referring to is the 20th century system of industrializing food into commodities. While the mass production of foods coupled with the exponential capacity to transport that food - meant that an amazing variety of foods became available to far more people around the country, it also meant the loss of market for our local food producers. And, as discussed, longer term problems evolved - additives impact on health, etc.

Did you know SNAP covers seeds and plants for growing your own food too?

As excited as we have been about the ability to use SNAP benefits at farmers markets, and as integral as this should be to the farmers market framework, this is not going to address the issue of Hunger and Food Deserts alone. Community Gardens, farm stands, neighborhoods farming together... So much that is so local to our daily lives that we can actually make a difference. There'd be no Whole Foods if corporation didn't see the profit in it. So, clearly "we're" already buying enough organic, natural, local and nutrient dense foods that they see the BIG FAT $$$ rolling in. 

So, what if we decided to take control of feeding ourselves? Then comes the chat about entitlement versus letting the private sector handle everything... And did I mention the impact of subsidies on our farmers and farmers in far countries like Mali whose cotton can't be sold for hardly anything because they can't compete with subsidized cotton on the global market? Too bad you say??? Then think about the impact on migration and immigration. People NEEDING to leave where they've been in order to sustain themselves somewhere. Its as old as people, people!

And yet, don't we always have to remember WHY it matters? Yes. It is food after all. We have to have food. And it should never have be deserved. Getting food based on merit? Sounds like a human right violation to me. A moral inambiguity of the highest order. And besides who gets to decide? Me?

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