In our last posting, we revealed some very disturbing information about the lack of vegetables available to U.S. consumers, both in quantity and variety. To add another dimension to the problem, a study by the American Journal of Preventive Medicine (released in 2010) projected that our agricultural sector would need to grow 70 percent more veggies, and of a much greater variety, for us to even have enough to eat the proper daily allowances at that time.
The Hunger-Free Kids Act (passed in 2010) has helped a little. According to the Centers for Disease Control, there’s been a significant growth in the amount of schools serving meals that include whole grains and two or more vegetables. Plus the kids being served these meals are actually eating greater amounts of the healthier plant foods.
But how can we supply this growing demand for vegetables when we’re falling so woefully short in producing enough for consumers to meet even the minimum recommended standards?
How about encouraging small, local family farms to make up the shortfall? As you may know, one of the major themes in our film, Plant Pure Nation, is that the small family farm is an American institution that’s rapidly nearing extinction, in large part because the government funnels the overwhelming majority of federal agricultural subsidy dollars to large agribusinesses.
But if demand for the variety and amount of vegetables continues to grow, the small local family farm is perfectly positioned to fill the need. Located closer to the consumer and able to change their crops more rapidly than large agribusiness in response to shifting demand, small, local family farms would be the ideal source for a wide variety of fresh, healthy, and delicious vegetables. Best of all, the only thing the government would need to do is get out of the way and let the free market act on its own.
Photo courtesy of Pixabay.
I try not to be overly dramatic in my writing, but I think most of us would agree we live in troubled times. We might define these troubles differently, but most of us have this sense. Most distressing in my view, however, are not the actual problems we face, but our inability to work together to find their solutions.
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