U.S. Food Economy Should Be Examined

RECEIVED Tue., Oct. 31, 2006

Dear Editor,
    Thanks for the story of Ana Barahona in "Let 'Em Eat Op-Eds!" [“Point Austin,” News, Oct. 27]. Americans should make it an obligation to know where our bargain apparel is coming from and what the "real" cost really is. A related, and equally important, concern comes in the form of our food economy. Our government is worrying about bioterrorism concerning America's industrialized food systems, while in the process, regulating small food producers out of business. These days, people spend more time choosing whether to have broccoli or potatoes with their chicken instead of making the effort to find out who to buy their food from and where and how it's produced. We often choose our food strictly on the basis of price (which is often artificially low because of subsidies) instead of quality, undermining our health by unknowingly ingesting harmful hormones, pesticides, and GMO's. In addition, I urge our community to pay attention to the politics of subsidized commodity crops, which paradoxically leave fruits and vegetables out of the loop. Aren't veggies what the USDA urges us to eat more of? All the while, these subsidized supermarket prices don't reflect the real cost of production, disproportionately affecting the health of low socioeconomic populations. Concerned consumers should really "act locally," not by shopping at Wal-Mart or buying Whole Foods produce shipped clear across the world via fossil fuel, but by supporting your local farmers' markets. It's nice to actually talk to the person who is growing your food!
Robin Hinton
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