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Food & U - Part II

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There’s always food stamps, right? A lot of folks seem to think that folks living on food stamps are living high on the hog. Should you get all puffed up about this, you should know that the “average” outlay for food stamps in the U.S. runs about $3/day per person. Different States have different formulas, but that’s the average. Food problems hit the poorest hardest.

In general, Americans use 10% of their income on food, but in the poorest countries, the share of the food budget is 60%. http://www.becker-posner-blog.com/archives/2007/10/rising_food_pri.html So, look at your own spending habits. If you make $36K/yr (before taxes), and minus 21% in taxes, to be ‘average,’ your food expenditures at an extravagant 12% would be $3412/yr or $284 a month or $9.48/day for 1 person. For my partner and myself, living in one of the most food expensive States in the U.S. and on a fixed income of $15.5K, the yearly comes out to $155/mo for 2 people-$2.53/day ea.

 The Journal of the American Dietetic Association notes tha the recommended diet, including a variety of less calorie-dense foods, now costs upwards of $36 a day. In comparison, a 2,000 calorie diet consisting of junk food would cost just $3.52 per day. http:www.wsws.org/articles/2007/dec2007/comm-d08.shtml

 How about that McDollar McMenu? Believe it or not, many, many people are going that route. I mean, if you only have $3-4 a day you can spend on food, the ‘dollar menu’ gives you a possible 3 meals. Sort of meals, anyway.

McDonalds double cheeseburger is about 3oz of meat while Burger Kings Whopper Jr. is 2.2 oz. “The gap between what we say people should eat and what they can afford is becoming unacceptably wide. If grains, sugars and fats are the only affordable foods left, how are we to handle the obesity epidemic?” says University of Washington’s Center for Public Health, Adam Drewnowski

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At Least, The Food We Do Have is Safe Most everybody believed that the ‘downer’ cattle were not allowed into the food supply for fear of Mad Cow and other neurological diseases. Then we saw the video last month of cows being picked up with fork lifts or dragged to the slaughter. Everybody was outraged and some people went to jail. 143 million lbs of meat were recalled from school lunch programs countrywide. We were sure there would be a rash of new & stronger inspections and strict enforcement, right?

Agriculture Secretary Ed Schafer told Congress yesterday that he would not endorse an outright ban on "downer" cows entering the food supply or back stiffer penalties for regulatory violations by meat-processing plants in the wake of the largest beef recall in the nation's history. http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2008/02/28/AR2008022804117.html


Plus we now have cloned meat in the supermarket – unmarked.

Is the Victory Garden back to stay? Most of you will only remember the ‘Victory Garden” from history, if at all. In WWII, food was rationed and everybody was encouraged to grow some level of their own food – in community gardens, window boxes, replacing flowers with vegetables or whatever they could do. The idea is coming back out of necessity. BUT, take a lesson from a long-time gardener/farmer: be careful of the seeds you pick.

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Stay away from many of the hybrids and especially the genetically modified ones. Yep, sure they promise a bigger, healthier yield and often they do – FOR ONE SEASON! The seeds that you would harvest for the next season are often sterile – so you have to buy more from the supplier! Many hybrids are wonderful producers but experience is the best teacher.

Years ago, in my youth, the pot growers showed me the wisdom of collecting seeds from my own garden. As each season progressed, the plants had less shock and more productivity by being planted in the same soil that their parents came from. Say what you will about pot growing, but the successful ones survived by knowing what they were doing. Besides, my Grandmother's garden had always produced abundantly and the family had been planting in the same rural Maine soil for a century or so before her. She grew a little pot too, but didn’t know it by that name – just the same seeds her mother handed down to her.

As a seed collector, I learned this again quite a few years ago when the seeds I was collecting sprouted very few new plants. The cause is the ‘suicide gene’ developed and used by agribusiness. Just four big companies control half of the world’s commercial seed market: Monsanto and Dupont in the US, Syngenta in Switzerland and Limagrain in France. First there was Terminator. Now there is Exorcist and Zombie. The idea was to genetically modify seeds so that the seeds they produced when they grew were sterile. In biotechnology jargon, this is known as a “genetic use restriction technology”, or GURT.Sources: http://www.robedwards.com/2008/02/gm-seeds-be-ver.html http://www.globalresearch.ca/index.php?context=va&aid=8219

Ah, yes, Monsanto, who gave us agent orange, Terminator seeds, and recombined milk (rBGH).And don’t forget Dow, ADM, Cargill & ConAgra. Some seeds can only reproduce if exposed to the ‘right’ fertilizer – hmmm, I wonder whose?Sources: http://bravenewfilms.org/blog/29949-the-future-of-food http://www.indsp.org/SWJoeCummins.php

As an aside note, you may not know that in 2004, the U.S. created a new law in Iraq that farmers may not save or re-use the seeds provided for them under ‘reconstruction’ and provided by agribusiness. Sources: http://www.globalresearch.ca/articles/KHA501A.html http://www.organicconsumers.org/patent/iraq111704.cfm http://www.grain.org/nfg/?id=253

For myself, I learned the hard way until I started buying organic seed from reputable seed banks. I personally use mainly Abundant Life Seeds in Washington http://www.abundantlifeseeds.com/stores/1/index.cfm But there are others, see . http://www.greenpeople.org/seeds.htm

 

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Christopher is a retired Mayflower family, Navy Vet, flower child, Mensan and a long-time rural Alaskan with a lifetime or two in Social Sciences and cross-cultural endeavors. He has a terminal graduate degree and is heading into his terminal years (more...)
 

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