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There’s exciting news for diabetics and their families. The Washington Post reported recently that the United States Department of Agriculture may finally be taking steps to actually put America on the right track!
What major policy change may be in the works? Subsidizing fresh fruit and fresh veggies to be used by Americans for food —- instead of growing plants for export and industrial products from corn, grains, soy, cotton, tobacco and more! That’s huge.
There’s a trial program starting. But, only a trial — could they spare it?
Twenty million dollars for this trial program is not even a drop in the bucket, but it is a crucial first-step to reverse the health crisis which the governement helped to create by subsizing the wrong “foods”, decades ago, and largely through legislative politics and pork-barrel pressure.
When you consider that the government budget for food stamps was more than $56 billion in 2009, and much of that was spent on poor nutrition pseudo-foods, which were highly-processed — like all the floury and sugary stuff — then making alkaline, fresh fruits and vegetables far less expensive (because they receive the federal subsidies, instead) will make a huge change in America’s dietary habits.
Most people buy what’s least expensive because that’s all they can afford, whether they are on Food Stamps, or not. If fresh fruit and vegetables are cheapest or much cheaper than they have been, more people will eat these real foods.
And, not only are these fresh foods nutritional powerhouses, but they help to alkalize our bodies and detox our tissues. We truly become healthier from the inside. That’s the way to solve the Health Crisis.
The majority of people do understand that there IS a connection between the diet they have and their Health, but money rules. They have to feed themselves, and in this huge financial crisis, the situation is even more dire and enlarged by millions of people having trouble affording healthy food.
Mrs. Obama tried to set the pace by reinstituting the vegetable garden at the White House, and although I have seen no reports about it this year, I believe that is still functioning. She’s taken on the cause of childhood obesity as it is SO critical.
I am sure that her advocacy has had an impact on USDA finally doing something.
Philosophically, it represents a shift. Amazingly, for decades, the government treated hunger and obesity as unrelated phenomena. Many in Congress hid their heads in the sand and let others suffer; the anti-hunger lobby supported that no-connection position, arguing that a mandate on what kind of food needy people should eat is both impractical and smacks of paternalism.
Yet education is essential, and public and privately funded incentive programs are gaining ground.
Wholesome Wave, which is a small foundation headed by chef Michel Nischan, has led the way by doubling the values of SNAP and WIC benefits when recipients spend the vouchers at farmers markets.
It has also launched an innovative program, dubbed Veggies Rx, in which doctors prescribe fruit and vegetable vouchers to overweight children; wouldn’t you think the AMA should have figured out that was worthwhile to lobby for, long ago? Instead, as with chef Alice Waters (Edible Schoolyard Project) and chef Jamie Oliver’s work, yet another chef is leading the way. Bravo!
This summer, the Fair Food Network, a Detroit-based foundation, announced it would offer double vouchers at 5 city farmers markets, and as Detroit has massive need, this is a break-through.
“The Healthy Incentives Pilot (H.I.P.) is an incredible step towards reducing obesity by encouraging low-income Americans to add more fruits and vegetables to their diets,” Kevin Concannon, the USDA undersecretary of food, nutrition and consumer Services, said in a statement. “It’s time to move forward with innovative approaches like HIP to get Americans eating more healthily.”
Add that to my long series to help you garden to raise your own food, and you can make great strides to eating healthfully. If food is fresh or only lightly cooked (steaming or poaching are best; low temperature crockpot braising or roasting are next), you will be way ahead. Fresh vegetables should be the backbone of your diet (at least 70% of what you eat), and green leafy veggies will provide lots of nutrients to combat our stress and stressful life-styles.
You can garden in a window, if that’s all the space you have, or on a balcony or deck. Even in small spaces, using intenstive techniques which I shared in my articles, you can grow amazing amounts of food. Start planning an autumn (or spring) garden, now.
USDA Subsidizing Fruit and Vegetables
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