At the urging of 92Y audience members to “go there,” New York Times food writer Mark Bittman and former Gourmet editor-in-chief Ruth Reichl share their frustrations with the “secret” 2012 Farm Bill. Capital New York was in attendance and reports:
“I mean, you just feel so helpless watching this farm bill, which is probably going to end up taking away all that’s good in the last farm bill, and taking away all the subsidies to family farmers and putting more money into industrial farming,” Reichl said, amplifying some of Bittman’s previous contentions on the matter.
In the new farm bill, there are eight times more federal subsidies going to commodities like corn than to fruits and vegetables, Bittman said. But Bittman said public anger should be shifted away from corporations, who after all are in it to make money.
“To me, the people to be pissed of at now is the government,” he said. “Part of their job is to rein them in, and they’re not doing it.”
“I feel like until we get a really riled public about what’s happening and people really understand how much our tax policy, where the money is going on a governmental level, how much money it influences the way that we eat, nothing’s gonna happen,” Reichl said. “And now it’s locked up behind closed doors.”
Bittman said there were important issues even outside of the farm bill, like industrial production of animals and taking money away from agencies like the Food and Drug Administration
“The whole defunding scheme is really deregulation by another name,” he said. “I mean, if you gut the F.D.A., that’s deregulation.”