Tuesday, November 13, 2007

"Weed it and Reap" response

Yay! The NY Times posted a letter to the editor in response to Michael Pollan's op-ed. It wasn't mine, but that's how advocates work together. If we all send in enough letters, it proves there is enough interest in a topic to print even one. This one had a very clever NY baseball analogy and was written by the Exec Director of the NYC Coalition of Hunger, so it's fitting the NY Times chose his.
Hunger and the Farm Bill
Published: November 12, 2007
To the Editor:

In “Weed It and Reap” (Op-Ed, Nov. 4), Michael Pollan claims that environmentalists and the “hunger lobby” were bought off on the farm bill, giving our support to the harmful “elephant in the room” — agribusiness subsidies — in exchange for financing for conservation programs and food stamps, which he derides as merely “fleas.”

But blaming us for bad farm bills is like blaming long-suffering Mets fans seated in the far upper deck at Shea Stadium for the team’s overpaid players and year-end collapse.

According to the Center for Responsive Politics, agribusinesses contributed more than $399 million to federal political campaigns between 1990 and 2006. In contrast, even when some antihunger groups (like mine) risk alienating donors by opposing corporate farm welfare, we hardly have an impact on this big-money debate.

Considering that the food stamp program helps more than 26 million Americans each month, it is no mere “flea.” Fighting to help millions avoid starvation, antihunger advocates take what we can get.

Joel Berg
Executive Director, New York City Coalition Against Hunger
New York, Nov. 4, 2007


Carl said...

What about the working poor the Food Stamps Program does not help or care one bit about??

Our family was cut off from the meager amount we already received in Food Stamps (under $100), based on income rules that defy ANY common sense on the planet Earth.

I moved from California to be near my sister who we sent my oldest daughter too after problems where we lived that included and affair, alleged molestation by this same person, theft and difficulties with our autistic son.
I have paid more in taxes in a month than we now make and have done so with 100% honesty!!!!
Yet I find we can get absolutely no help for my daughter for counseling, for my son, and now for food stamps!

I went back to being self employed for a variety of reason, one of which was to help spend more time with my kids.
My business generated $41, 926 in gross income less cost of Goods of $25,155 resulting in a gross profit of $16,771. After expenses of $17,925 our TRUE income (which does not even include count non-deductible expenses) is -$1,154 (that is a negative number!)
Yet the program administered by the USDA only allows 50% cost of goods AND other expenses combined which of coarse no REAL business makes especially and internet business with low profit margins.

Also ALL the politicians I have so far contacted have absolutely nothing and worse, one (Greg Walden, Representative from Oregon) has been condescending and arrogant

Carl Food Stamps Program

CCYL said...

More Food Stamp support is critical. Absolutely. I didn't wholly like the last "take what we can get" part of the printed letter even if it is ultimately true since we are the lobbyists, not the lawmakers. But to Carl's situation: I wholeheartedly feel the money currently given in commodity payments to wealthy conglomerate farmers or to landowners who do not farm should instead be used to expand our Food Stamp program and help families like Carl's. Even if people _are_ lucky enough to be on food stamps, the average recipient cannot make them last for the whole month.