Monday, September 12, 2011

Subsidizing Healthier Eating

I've written before that good eating habits should be subsidized for the poor, so I was thrilled to read this.   Philadelphia now offers its food stamp recipients a 40% subsidy if they buy food at Farmers' markets.   Food stamp recipients can now go to Farmers' markets in Philadelphia which sell cheaper produce then supermarkets, AND get an addition $2 in food for every $5 they spend.

This is great news for the poor and great news for small farmers.  It's a "win-win" situation.  

The bad news??? It's only a pilot program and soon the money will run out.  Philadelphia has yet to find funding to continue the project.  

The other bad news?  Well since it's been a success, big food will no doubt try to find a way to sabotage it.   As the article's author points out:

The good news is that the processed food industry hasn't figured out how to lobby against healthy food subsidies, which appear to be the programs gaining the most traction with consumers. Or at least not yet: Big Food will no doubt try to devise a way to fight the intolerable desire consumers of all income levels have to find ways to eat better. We'll just have to fight back harder.


  1. I like it. I'd go further. I'd have a master list of food that food stamp recipients can buy and a bigger list of what they CAN'T. And it has to be basic, nutritious foodstuffs. I also think we need as communitities to rally round the food banks, make better connections between farmers and markets, and make sure what we offer the poor is NUTRITIOUS and doesn't make them sicker, fatter, more depressed. Poor should not mean "here, eat this shit we have leftover for you." There is so much that's wasted in supermarkets, and I do believe comunities need to organize taking stuff that's still good, if not ideally sellable, and getting it to places where those in need will get protein, veggies, fruit.

    Maybe as a nation we need to start a "Buy a couple extra cans of veggies or bag of apples and drop it off at a food bank" thing---which would require some master organizational volunteers, but hey, if the volunteers are unemployed and get first dibs at the meat/fruits/veggies, it might work out. :D

    I dunno. I just hate reading that Kate of Fabulous 50 blog goes to a food pantry and they have donuts and crap. THAT IS NOT FOOD. And poor people shouldn't be getting that. Period. It's gonna make them sick and harder to get OUT of poverty.

    Oh, sorry...I just get upset at the waste. Everywhere we go, restaurants, supermarkets, etc, waste. I know lawsuits are part of it (no one wants to give away food someone might say poisoned them), but there has to be a better way to "recycle" stuff that's still good, nutritious, edible...and maybe it's less about subsidies to individuals, and offering tax breaks or grants to businesses/food pantries/volunteers who fix the food distribution to the poor issue.

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