Protecting the Safety Net

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If you'd like to share your thoughts on our Budget Cuts article, please do so here. We'd love to hear what you think!

By: massey lambard | May 25, 2011 11:33 PM | Permalink
I'm not at all surprised by some of the negative comments. There is a small, albeit vocal, portion of our populace who were born on third base and think they hit a triple.

Those less fortunate should just pull their socks up and pull THEMSELVES up by their own bootstraps.

They just don't ( or want to?) understand that there are some that are unable to do that. They (wrongly) see that anything 'given' to someone else is something taken away from them. "Pull up the ladder, I got mine."

You just keep doing what you're doing. As has been said "All politics is local." And you and your organization are dealing with our long-distance, wasteful food distribution system.

Case in point: the '2000 mile potatoes' in my local Winn Dixie (coastal Alabama) that came from Simi Valley, CA.

We used to grow potatoes commercially here. Now we grow turf for McMansions. :-(

By: | May 25, 2011 08:20 PM | Permalink
Backyard farmers unite! As humans religious or otherwise, we should not only have a moral obligation but a social obligation as well to support and nourish one another (and ourselves) in mind, body and spirit. Studies have shown that nourishing our bodies nourishes our minds and spirits - and those of future generations. And can in the long term make positive improvements in the full spectrum of our environment as well. We can agree that we must sometimes make radical changes to our lifestyles in times of economic crisis such as unemployment, food insecurity and medical needs, but as political constituents and registered voters we must obligate ourselves to make our voices heard in Washington regardless of our individual socioeconomic situations. If those of us who find ourselves less fortunate continue to allow the abundantly wealthy individuals and corporations alike to line their own pockets with our misfortunes - oops! - I meant influence our political representatives in such ways that inadequately benefit every one of us ├ó┬?┬? we do ourselves a grave injustice.

By: Tammy March-Vispi | May 25, 2011 05:11 PM | Permalink
Wow! I value this organization very highly. I am absolutely a member. I am astounded at the negative emotional knee jerk reactions of some of my fellow farmers. We all are the backbone of this country. And I see THIS as a serious fundamental barrier to our creating a unified front and reaching our mutual goals of providing safe abundant food for the world.

1. Opinions are opinions and personal and do not make a person better or worse! Actions are the barometer for basing judgement. This culture, this country, is BASED on and formed from a desire to protect our natural RIGHT to our own beliefs and opinions. We are to protect that right and honor that right no matter whether we disagree or not. Putting aside judgement of an opinion in honor of what we are all here for is a critical part of being a thinking, discerning citizen and community member.

2. Guess what people! Politics IS food and food IS politics whether we like it or not, and I'll tell you what, I HATE that it is! I believe it should not be, but the way the system is currently and the powers that be are using it, food is the new currency in the world. So whatever your leaning, right, left or center, we can no longer be ostriches and pretend that politics are not impacting us in enormous ways. There is no longer a real option to remain silently wallflowers. If you think that not making waves will save you, sorry, the tsunami is nearly upon us.

3. Discussion, conversation, debate, communication, and education are what is needed for ALL of us, if we are to create a workable future for agriculture and a sustainable future for those that come after us. All that and cooperation,compromise, thinking outside the box, sharing ideas, partnering toward a future that can work for all of us.

Thank you Erin for your thought and opinions that keep us in action and thinking provocatively, that is what makes us a great nation and a nation of LIBERTY.

By: ElizaBeth Marshall-Smith | May 4, 2011 03:52 AM | Permalink
I was reading this evening about the 1792 coinage act, like alot of other things in this country that went by the way, without ANY discourse. ( you know, according to original intent? Those poor, stupid men, If only the "wisdom" of TODAY was around to light their un-educated, pitiful path! ) Jane Grey wanted a real schilling for England, imagine what a REAL dollar could do ( Oh! and the desire to do an honest days work ) for the cause.

By: Robin Suggs | Apr 28, 2011 06:42 PM | Permalink
Once again I would like to express my appreciation of Local Harvest and support of Erin and her right to express her views publicly in this newsletter. That is exactly the intended purpose of a newsletter, to express the views of the people associated with the organization who creates and publishes it.

Also once again, like it or not, the size and scope of our government over time has become a significant factor in influencing our daily lives and everything we do, whether it be in agriculture or the automotive industry. When your personal production (income) is forcibly taken by the "state" and diverted to interests that may or may not be in keeping with your sense of ethics and who you see yourself to be as a person then I believe a person has a right born of natural law to express his or her views as he or she sees fit.

The opinion piece was appropriately framed as just that, an opinion piece reflecting the views of the author who obviously had deep seated feelings regarding the issue at hand. She was not partisan, nor did she indicate that she was expressing the views of the organization for which she is working or those of others.

We have all heard the oft tossed quote: "Freedom isn't free". That said, shouldn't we all be a little more involved and vigilant in regards to the system with which we allow to govern us? In closing I will offer the following words of Jefferson:

"The issue today is the same as it has been throughout all history, whether man shall be allowed to govern himself or be ruled by a small elite." -- Thomas Jefferson

-Robin

By: Chandi Rodriguez | Apr 27, 2011 11:43 PM | Permalink
Analogies have their limits. We are not called to help those who do well to do better. We are called to help those who falter succeed. I think this may be true of all religious thought. We need to "feed the hungry and cloth the poor." We may not have a Christian compass but we surely have a moral compass. Many have forgotten how to read it-or even to acknowledge it exists. It is not an option to fall back on "the poor are always with us." That was never an argument for inaction. We know in our hearts what is right. Suffering that we encounter must be alleviated if it is within our power. We must always do the most loving thing. Kudos on your article on food security-double-talk term for plain old garden variety hunger. Going local is the answer. Global is for sharing. Local is for support.

By: Laohaire MacDougall | Apr 27, 2011 05:35 PM | Permalink
I don't view this post as political rhetoric, It is one person's opinion. As a Farmer I see relatively clearly what our so called Government is attempting to do. The way to help is to Teach People how to become at least partially self sufficient. One can grow vegetables on a window sill to help feed the family. Our farm, and I am sure many others encourage work shares. Rather than focus on the Worlds Problems, focus on those at your own door stop. If you meet someone in need offer to let them weed the garden for an hour and send them off with food for a few days. If they don't want to work, they aren't that hungry. I do think that Welfare should become WORKfare and that we must have our voices heard. If we stopped farming for 1 week the entire global food system would collapse. We as farmers need to be seen as the backbone of this country not poor fools on the dole. Vote, write your cogressperson, be respectfully active, that is how we affect change. If you don't agree with someones opinion show them how they are wrong by your actions. Take your excesses to a food bank or church, feed your community and friends, above all stop whining and be the vehicle for change not part of the problem, and for goodness sake GROW UP! Laohaire

By: Michael Vandrew | Apr 27, 2011 12:45 AM | Permalink
The last thing I would consider sustainable is the government involved with something. I can't think of anything that could be more UN- sustainable. Feeding people locally and globally can be done and should be done privately through grass roots movements. I would find it hard to take anyone one associated with the concept of sustainability seriously if they also wanted the government to come to the rescue. If we see there's a need you do something. Expecting the government to be responsible for all the social needs they are involved in is not sustainable it is just a band-aid, people being motivated by love for their fellow man and finding grass root solutions is sustainable.

By: Susan Fauss | Apr 25, 2011 07:30 PM | Permalink
I for one like political discourse in every venue. Some like to stick their head in the sand and keep "dirty" politics out of their lives. The problem is that whether you deal with politics or not, it WILL affect your life. I like to hear different opinions of those who share some of my common interest. We all want poor people fed. We all want good healthy food. The problem with government programs is that they are not efficient no matter how good the intention. It is not about conservative or liberal...it is about smart. Food that is sent to foreign countries and sits on the dock to rot because a tyrant in power will not let it be dispersed in his country is not smart. We may "feel good" that it was sent, but it is wasteful and expensive. Most of us work hard and cannot afford this waste. So thank you for letting many of your followers express themselves as I have done. I hope we all have been challenged to think about these issues and not be threatened because we have different opinions.

By: | Apr 25, 2011 03:23 AM | Permalink
@Erin I expected some disagreement with your 4/21 newsletter, but the disdain (and in some cases open hatred) for people in need expressed by most commenters is shocking. That level of discourse is unbecoming for an important site such as this one.

By: michael smith | Apr 25, 2011 01:43 AM | Permalink
Please keep your political opinions to yourself. While I would love to debate politics with you, this is not the forum to do it in. To try to explain what you did wrong, and why everyone is so upset, here is an example. Foodstamps is politics, not food. If a farmer accepts foodstamps , the foodstamp program is cut, you may write about the farmer losing income and how we must support him. You may not write about foodstamps, why it was cut, if it should have been cut, etc. What you liberal ,obama worshipping ,democrats conviently forget is, obama gave our tax dollars to the wall street elite so they could have their bonuses. Every dollar we give to food stamps, or any other tax increase, will go straight to the rich. Don't want to hear that opinion? Don't ask for it by writing articles like this one.

By: Brenda J Luetger | Apr 24, 2011 09:27 PM | Permalink
I was real surprised when I started reading this last newsletter. I was upset when I finished. I did not think this was a site for politics and politics I strongly disagree with. Keep it up and I will take my site down. I want to read about food and farming not read what you think is good politics. I am also not in favor of raising taxes. We pay enough as it is and hardly get anything in return. People farm because they love it, it is in their blood. Keep the goverment and their dumb ideas away from farmers and we would all be happy. Just my 2cents worth. BJ

By: Evelyn Lantz | Apr 24, 2011 03:36 AM | Permalink
I feel it is truly sad that the writer of the original post feels that the people who disagree are obviously uninformed and or ignorant of the facts. The working people of this country are fed up with supporting people with their tax dollars who have done nothing to earn their own living. The people of this country are very kind and giving people. Our country gives more to the poor of this country and other countries than any other nation on the earth. However, our government has created such a poor business climate that our businesses and industry, which should be supplying employment to our people, are instead being shipped to China and other third world countries. We have enriched China with our industry while we borrow money from them to pay our people not to work. That is a fact. How many things can you find in your home anymore that were made in the USA? People need jobs. Yes, there are people who need help and we will help them. However, young healthy people should be employed, not living on welfare and food stamps. People were asleep for a long time while our government was spending billions of dollars it did not have, but now they are awake and they are not going back to letting foolish and destructive policies continue to destroy the United States of America. Yes, we enjoy good healthy food but we expect able bodied people to work for what they have and not be addicted to dependence on the government for their living. The government's money is our money. The government works for the people who are earning their money. Our government has created generations of government fed people who now feel entitled to live off the working people of this nation.

By: Justin West | Apr 24, 2011 02:33 AM | Permalink
Another useful website gains a large audience and cannot resist the temptation to ruin itself by expressing irrelevant and divisive political opinion. Please don't get political here. Get another website if you must regurgitate your government-loving pablum.

By: Susan and John Kopacz | Apr 24, 2011 12:09 AM | Permalink
I am sorely disappointed in the political slant in your newsletter. This sounds way too liberal for me. And I know that my feelings are shared by many, if not most, in my rural farm and ranch community. I am sick of the entitlement programs that breed more and more dependence upon those of us who work and pay. I don't mind helping or sharing what I have with those who are truly down on their luck. But I see many who don't provide for themselves or their families because they know the government will. And I DO NOT want my taxes to go up. I DO want spending cut. Please don't speak for me, because we don't agree, it seems. Keep the politics out of Local Harvest, please.

By: | Apr 23, 2011 09:22 PM | Permalink
After coming back here the day after my first comment I am once again taken aback by the negative comments brought on by Erin's original statement.......somehow I had expected more informed commentary by those involved with, what I believe, Local Harvest is all about. These "threats" of unsubscription, (not sure if there is such a word) when there is nothing to replace a very informative and most helpful site, are just silly and empty. The comments reflect the same passing on of false info so rampant at this time in our country. One is entitled to one's own opinion, esp. one who "owns" the site, but one is NOT entitled to their OWN TRUTH, as some who have spoken here seem to think. Though I realize they "know not of what they speak".

I again suggest a way of "liking" or agreeing with a comment, since I'm sure all don't comment and it would be of interest how the majority feel.

Again I would like to thank all involved with Local Harvest, you provide a very valuable resource, and I can only see further growth and success.................Thanks, Karen

By: justy papst | Apr 23, 2011 03:23 PM | Permalink
I to am offended by your politicalization of this great non-political web-site and if it continues in the future I will never consider donating to L.H and unsubscribe!! If I want politics I know where to go get it and it isn't at L.H. It is estimated that since President Johnson launched his "war on poverty" in 1964 we have spent over 10 trillion dollars on this "war" and what do we have to show for it? Answer; more poverty and bankruptcy. So your solution is to take more money from people with money to spend more money on "poverty" and what will we get for all that? Yep, more people who once had money that are now poor, hence the need to spend even more money on even more poor people. Military, after spending 20 years in the system I can tell you that there is a lot of waste in it ( $987 per chair) but if you cut the military now it will be our throats that get cut next!! Besides who will protect your right to wright such foolish comments, some stoned hippie liberal up in San Fransisco. I don't think so.

By: Kip Glass | Apr 23, 2011 10:49 AM | Permalink
Erin, you sound just as liberal as our president. Your statement that most people want to cut spending and have taxes raised is so off the mark. Most people don't want taxes raised and know if we get responsiblity back in washington and cut spending taxes could be lowered. You make me sick to my stomach. Kip Glass Patriot that wants our country back.

By: | Apr 23, 2011 08:02 AM | Permalink
Hi, I love the comments section! Public discourse is always healthy... almost as healthy as the foods we need to grow & eat to obtain global sustainable food security :0) But I have to ask is Local Harvest promoting a political agenda beyond food security? If so will that threaten the purpose of this web site? I think we all are intelligent people quite capable of considering and formulating our own opinions based on our own individual life experiences, but do you people really want to hear my rhetoric spoken from atop this soapbox at Local Harvest ~ real food. real farmers. real community. Perhaps if real analysis was employed to determine what exactly we all do agree upon it may be relevant. However I don't want to be an activist group at this time. I just care about growing food and buying and selling at good prices. Thanks for listening ~ Randy

By: | Apr 22, 2011 11:24 PM | Permalink
I have been impressed w'info at this site, and in it's emails for some weeks now, but was further impressed this week with the "political" thoughts, and while not agreeing w'many comments felt they were mostly "on point" and well thought out. I,myself am very much a believer in Michael Pollan's basic thesis, and feel this the only route to "fixing" what is wrong w'food in the US, along w'less emphasis on animal protein in our diets. I would like to make a suggestion though, I (and I think others, along w'Local Harvest) would like to be able to give a thumbs up/down to various comments made about original thoughts here. As in the NYTimes, when "comments" are encouraged, I find it quite enlightening to see what opinions are the most "agreed with" and which are left with very few "recommendations". Thank you very much for this "site" and to those behind it, and I feel I am mostly "one" w'you in thought and ideals, Thanks again, Karen

By: cindy reynolds | Apr 22, 2011 11:14 PM | Permalink
i was surprised and very disappointed to see such bias political views sent to your members.

By: | Apr 22, 2011 08:21 PM | Permalink
It's one thing to want good things for others. It's another thing entirely to use the power of government to force one into "contributing" to any cause.

We are where we are today (14 trillion in debt) because our representatives started using government to take from one and give things to another.

I care about my neighbor but I am less likely to assist when the government takes money from me in the name of providing a "safety net".

Who can better decide, no, who has the right to decide who gets my assistance more than me? Is it better to relinquish my obligation to my neighbor to the 435 people in Washington, DC to decide for me?

By: | Apr 22, 2011 06:48 PM | Permalink
These United States of Amercica can easily feed our population and the world. No need for food stamps. Our food is continually getting turned into fuel by subsidies.

By: Rhonda Woodson | Apr 22, 2011 05:33 PM | Permalink
Stay true to your purpose . . "Use our website to find farmers' markets, family farms, and other sources of sustainably grown food in your area, where you can buy produce, grass-fed meats, and many other goodies." Leave politics out of it!

By: Jack Moffitt | Apr 22, 2011 04:20 PM | Permalink
Please don't drag localharvest into the gutter of political speech. I disagree with your views and find them supportive of the culture that is dragging the US into world wide wars using food, drones and subversive activity as weapons against the peoples of the world. Defunding the oppressive nanny state is better for local agriculture than supporting it getting even more funding. Cease or our farm will depart.

By: Ann Dougherty | Apr 22, 2011 01:03 PM | Permalink
Thanks for the budget review newsletter. It is easier for me to see the ramifications of policies, when I think ahead to what I want: Food systems where there are no barriers (regulatory) or tolls (fees and middle men) between people and their food. What policies will get us to community gardens in downtown, suburban and rural common space; billboards on highways for the next rest stop/ visitors' garden; restaurants, schools and hospitals with local farm produce and meats being delivered from the farm to the back door? Removing the dozens of economic and permitting barriers to people growing, preserving, cooking, eating, and yes, composting our own foods would be nice. I agree with cash payment to farm families that are preserving American land as farm or forest - and want to lower the barriers so that they can grow edible crops on their land.

We are out of money, and need to feed ourselves and each other. To use a metaphor: We need food stamps because there are parts of us that are in intensive care. But we also need rehab to get our muscles working, and get all of us out of this hospital.

By: Steve Sprinkel | Apr 22, 2011 05:07 AM | Permalink
The opposing comments are enough of an alternative response to the recent Newsletter. I can't find any fault in offering something in depth on the subject. The Newsletter was fine.

A few of the 44 million people on food stamps shop at my farm store. None of them are gaming the system. I have friends who have been without work for nearly three years.

The local food movement has been greatly assisted by many government agencies. The City of Santa Monica, CA has sponsored perhaps the most financially successful farmers market for three decades. I paid for it. The state of California, through the work of many elected officials, farmers and their representatives, have created laws that protect consumers, define policies, provide enforcement and education. I pay for it. My local city of Ojai, provides public space for my market. I pay for it. My County Supervisor sponsored a county-wide ordinance that protects farmland from rezoning. Any time an important is held meeting affecting local agriculture he is there. I help pay his salary. The federal government created uniform standards for organic food in 1990-criticize it all you care to, but farmers needed local and international legitimacy in order for this movement to flourish. Don't bother reminding me of the inadequacies. We would be naive to expect perfection. But the best bottom line is that because of such efforts the world's largest carrot grower grows 10,000 acres of organic carrots-on land that was abused with chemicals beforehand-and farmed by people who used to be exposed to those materials. I want to pay for that. He may not be local, but his farmworkers are.

I don't want to pay for farm subsidies. But I have not wanted to for forty years. Nonetheless, things more important to me have been created.

Commenting on government can't really be such a terrible thing to read here, when government directly affects the work represented by people who contribute here.

To those who are offended, I would just say I am glad to hear your side of it, and think we agree on much more than we don't Have a pleasant and productive day.

Steve Sprinkel

By: Carl glazman | Apr 22, 2011 04:02 AM | Permalink
I certainly don't believe that the Ag budget, or nutrtion programs should be exempt from deep cuts. The Countercyclical payments to corn and soy farmers are making them rich, while forcing them away from growing healthy food. Cut these subsidies drastically and end the ethanol subsidies, while doing a similar cut to the traditional food stamp type nutrition programs, so that farmers will grow people food and the poor will buy it. They now buy very unhealthy prepared foods making Cargill, ADM and the lot very large profits, propping up grocery stores that contribute to diabetes, based just on the food assistance fund availablility. Limit what can be bought to milk, whole grains, modest, healthy meats in moderation, fresh vegetables and fresh fruits. Crash that prepared food mess and they will begin to buy healthy real foods, whole grains, fruits and vegetables and all will be in better health.

Please do not join the whiner chorus protesting the cuts that will make medical care less costly in the future and stress getting rid of the health-depriving subsidies for non-food agriculture that make the ag oligopolies wealthy and the people fat and sick.

Carl Glanzman

Nishnabotna Naturals

Certified Organic producer of fine Fruits and Vegetables Oakland, Iowa

By: Blaine Hitzfield | Apr 22, 2011 01:52 AM | Permalink
Erin,

While I strongly disagree with you - I do commend you for speaking your mind!

Your thinking is mostly likely a product of liberal progressive education. I'd encourage you to take a crash course on constitutional studies. I'd recommend reading "The 5,000 Year Leap" to get started.

By: Steve Hanken | Apr 22, 2011 01:16 AM | Permalink
Let me tell you what I see as a volunteer at our local DHS. DHS is constantly being hit with round after round of lay offs. Working as a volunteer to try and get things done still doesn't help when the system is falling apart. In spite of all the comments about who these people are that get food and assistance and how they aren't deserving, get over it. There are plenty of people who have worked all their lives and can't make it without help. In these tough times there are tons of kids who are going hungry because food stamps aren't getting out there fast enough and with slimmer numbers of workers the problem just gets worse. All the paperwork that has been added for "homeland security" doesn't help. We are approaching 30 days from sign up to finally getting assistance, how would you like to wait 30 days just to get something to eat? When people don't get the basics when they need them they get desperate, and they re-apply which clogs up the system with dual and triple applications. It is a crisis looking to become a disaster.

By: Leann Solene | Apr 22, 2011 12:25 AM | Permalink
While this may or not be the forum for this discussion, Good job for making people think! Unfortunately it hurts some people to think and they medicate themselves by ostrich mentality (unsubscribing). In my house, if you can't take a little debate we'd wonder what you are using all that gray matter for.

On topic - I'd like to mention "The End of Food" by Paul Roberts. An excellent book which explains how we are killing the food chain, and how the government and big business are doing just that. The solutions for this complex issue will be many pronged just to feed our countrymen in the future.

Personally, I take pride in just doing what I can do. And each debate or opinion I hear may enlighten me to something else I can do. We all should be proud we have the freedom to act individually....but don't be an ostrich.

By: Lori Wallace | Apr 22, 2011 12:21 AM | Permalink
Thank you, Erin, for speaking up for those with no voice, or lobbyist, in their corner. As far as I a concerned you did not voice a 'political opinion', but one of concern for your fellow human beings, especially those who are hungry as well as largely unseen by those who have much.

Count me as one of your avid readers as well as a continued subscriber and supporter.

Peace.

Lori Wallace Gulf Breeze, FL

By: Anne Blanchet | Apr 22, 2011 12:23 AM | Permalink
I'd like to weigh in with the folks who are asking you not to make this site political. I understood your mission as a network for people to find farmers, and I have benefited from and appreciate that support. I would have to stop recommending your site and discontinue my voluntary contribution if you continue to use the web site for political discussions. Please consider the focus of your mission and let us know what it will be in the future.

By: Robin Suggs | Apr 21, 2011 11:42 PM | Permalink
First off, Erin, thanks for opening the can of worms here. Like it or not, the political arena effects us all and on a daily basis, to think you can not address something of substance and of a political nature in conversation is fantasy.

Second, we all have a right to express or opinions. I think the First Amendment still survives, despite the elite statists in D.C., for now at least.

Thirdly, we all need to be having discussions like this rather than watching the programmed pundits with their contrived talking points on the television. Social engineering only works if you allow it into your life.

And finally, when the TV goes off, your mind begins to open to the limitless possibilities and opportunities to affect change. You begin to see the bipartisan system in this country for what it really is a bipartisan dictatorship and a political monopoly. You realize that corporatism (like industrial ag) is the order of the day and all those around you with their minds glued to the television and still eating those GMO corn chips seem oblivious to it all.

Keep up the discussion, I feel "real change" may just be in the air....

├?┬íViva la Revoluci├?┬│n!

-Robin

By: Eric Belsey | Apr 21, 2011 10:17 PM | Permalink
Hello,

Just a heads-up, I don't support the current direction at all, but it is worth taking a second look at how US food aid actually functions in the "third world". We naturally think that there are these people who are going to starve unless we feed them, that this feeding is an act of generosity, of the type the hard right sees as "creating dependency."

Here's another perspective:

Food Aid Undermines Local Producers

http://www.cepr.net/index.php/relief-and-reconstruction-watch/food-aid-undermines-local-producers/

best, Eric

By: | Apr 21, 2011 10:15 PM | Permalink
Well, this has been an interesting 30 minutes of reading. It certainly reflects the very issues that we face in this country. Those who have chosen to unsubscribe are the people that will turn their backs on social injustice, whether presented here on this site, or in their own communities. If it's unpleasant, and requires you to think, then the easy way out is to "unsubscribe". As Americans we have always declared that all important movements for change in this country begin with "grass root" support. It has to start with discussions with and between people, not always from the same place in life in order to be fair and representative. We are approaching a major crisis in this country, and soon, many people who are eating well now, won't be. Local Harvest has the right to address issues that will affect their readership. It's a warning cry, a head's up, that "the times, they are a-changing". If we as a people do not start to question the status quo we are going to go the way of many civilizations that forgot why they formed in the first place.

By: Donna Duren | Apr 21, 2011 10:04 PM | Permalink
Local Harvest should stick to "Local". But let us not overlook the fact that "real community" is also in its tag line.

Real community is another way of talking about the "polis", the organization or governance by the people at its most rudimentary level. Perhaps our government is a mess at least in part because our communities are a mess. People surrendered their duties as members of a community, as active, participating citizens from looking out for our neighborhoods and our neighbors in a reciprocal manner which just reflects itself all the way up the food chain to DC.

We are as estranged from our government as we are from a lot of our food sources. But, isn't that our own responsibility, at least in part? Did someone come along and force us and take our citizenship away or did we, over time, relinquish it?

For too long we have wanted it both ways. We want "local" and "community" when it suits our own needs but hey, don't force me/confiscate from me when I fail to participate of my own free will to the larger "polis".

Be the change you wish to see. It might not save us from things we cannot fully control such as monetary policy but at least we can be a part of the things for which we can effect positive influence and change--locally in our real community--starting with ourselves.

By: Matt Middleton | Apr 21, 2011 09:55 PM | Permalink
Keep your political opinions to yourself. It's stupid to punish people because they are a success at what they do and make alot of money at it. It's just as stupid to reward people who make lousy choices in life. In my hometown, us working folks are paying the way for the "burnouts" who hung out in the smoking area and skipped school. How is it fair that you forcefully take from me to feed and house those idiots?

By: | Apr 21, 2011 09:40 PM | Permalink
I disagree with most people who are commenting. You can't have local growers and harvests without some governmental influence. I disagree with those that think you are sermonizing. There is a food crisis in the world and if all we think about is our own little farmers' market or local area, we are just plain stupid, or greedy.

Just how many of those posters know what that Food Safety and Modernization Act can do to small farmers? How many of them are aware of the problems with genetically modified seeds and the lawsuits that Monsanto uses that virtually force farmers out of their living? How many of them are aware of what the government is dong in collusion with big ag corporations? Hey you people! Turn the light on and do some reading, instead of just thinking about your personal CSA and how much you hate lettuce by the end of the spring produce season.

I do disagree with the idea that the government should have anything to do with food aid around the world. In fact, NGO's and church organizations are much better suited to get right into villages....digging wells, providing seed or animals, and even building housing. Are governments really the most efficient ways of dealing with hunger? Instead, growers here who have the acreage should band together and broker their seed directly to NGO's who know where the need is greatest. We'd stop government subsidies and farmers would be able to put all of their land to use, instead of the government telling them what and how much they can plant....because of artificially controlled pricing.

By: Amy Walker | Apr 21, 2011 09:18 PM | Permalink
Great point! Local.... that IS the key word here, isn't it. And big government is not Local. Local harvest should stick to just that!

By: | Apr 21, 2011 08:56 PM | Permalink
My previous comment should have been addressed to Erin, not Amy. Sorry Amy!

By: | Apr 21, 2011 08:54 PM | Permalink
Dear Amy,

First of all, I agree wholeheartedly that we should all be concerned about people going hungry. However, I think asking the government to take care of this problem goes against the fundamental idea of Local Harvest. The government is about as far from local as you can get. That is like saying we should make sure everyone gets enough milk by importing it from China. Wouldn't you rather we better supported our local dairy farmers? Think LOCAL! I personally give nearly $10,000 every year to my LOCAL church, much of which goes to supply a LOCAL food bank which turns no one away. Anyone who is hungry can show up and ask for a box of food, and they will be given a weeks supply for a family of 4, including a Kroger gift card and fresh vegetables from our church community garden. No government money is used to feed these people. The people handing out the food are volunteers. The people buying the gift cards and food and packing the boxes are volunteers. The people growing the vegetables in the community garden are doing it for free (well, and for vegetables for their own table!). There are other, better ways to make sure people don't go hungry. Our church also houses and feeds 30-40 homeless men once a week during the winter, rotating days with other local churches. The church pays for the food, but volunteers shop for it and cook and serve it. Again, no government money required, other than the tax deduction we all get for charitable contributions. But wait, that is on the table, too, we don't want all those people getting a tax break for charitable contributions, we need to let the government decide how to spend my money. I'm sorry but I have to disagree with your means, although not your goal. Having the government force me to pay cash so they can send food stamps to someone is not a very good plan, in my opinion.

By: Denny Hunt | Apr 21, 2011 08:22 PM | Permalink
I shouldn't even post, but here goes. Let's throw a label on me first - Christian Anarcho Capitalist. For secular concerns, that means I subscribe to the Austrian School of Economics. That also means that I have a pretty good idea about how money is made, about fiat currency and fractional reserve banking. All ponzi schemes die. Most have ugly deaths. I think it is naive to think the US Dollar ponzi scheme will be any different. I agree that LH is no place for politics, economic opinions or religion - that is if LH wants to attract food lovers from the general public - IOW a huge marketing error to post such an article and an even worse mistake to email it out to paying subscribers. Yes - I once sent money to LH. I am not going to unsubscribe. I sent Erin an email explaining why I think she needs to read more. She is forgiven. We all make mistakes. And we all have much to learn!

By: Amy Walker | Apr 21, 2011 08:12 PM | Permalink
Cheri, we are not far off in our agreement of what is wrong, only our agreement of how to fix it. There will always be people who are greedy - it is an equal opportunity provider and both rich and poor can be guilty of this. But it's not the government's job to step in and correct the guilty heart and I realize that you have not said they should. But the majority of people are generous when they don't feel they are being crushed themselves. So I believe your premis is incorrect that we must allow government to go outside of the constitution to fix the issue. The government is killing charity! The founding fathers new this would happen - England was doing this very thing to them! That's why the constitution is NOT outdated and does not need amending. The problem is we have gotten AWAY from it! And the solution to correcting the issue isn't to get further away but get closer to it.

As far as justice goes... that had to do with fair representation and the right to be considered innocent until proven guilty. Not a hand out for the needy as important as that may be. That role belongs to the people and churches. If we weren't all being taxed so much, we'd have more to give!!

By: Cheri E Howard | Apr 21, 2011 07:58 PM | Permalink
Oh, and I am one of those who would be hit with higher taxes...No jealousy here. Only empathy.

By: Cheri E Howard | Apr 21, 2011 07:50 PM | Permalink
Amy, it is true that we supply much of the world with agriculture. Some have written that this actually hurts other countries when they attempt to grow their own crops (and a whole new issue.)

Much needs to be revised when it comes to subsidies. (Yet another discussion). Even with the subsidies, many of our US citizens go to bed hungry. They help a little, but they are only a bandaid. After researching many local and national shelters, they have the problem of moving the food to the areas that need it. Despite all the money that is provided to these farmers, the US is still in dire straights when it comes to helping our own poor.

I hate to say it, but there are many who refuse to give to charities. I call it plain greed. Some may not. Try living on 700 dollars a month. If you don't have your own home and car paid off, (or relatives to provide these things) well, it's nearly impossible. I've seen people denied a hot meal because a shelter has run out of food.

If we stick to a purely constitutional government without updating it to meet our most pressing needs, we will find ourselves ignoring problems in this country that are not covered in the constitution. It worked when most of our citizens were rural, everyone knew each other, and owned and produced their own foods.

I have no problem with adhering to our constitution. I only find it partially out of date and in need of thoughtful additions. Frankly, we haven't established enough "justice" and haven't ensured "domestic tranquility." With all the crime and the people who are working for substandard wages, is that "liberty and justice for all"? When we take away from those who don't have much, are we promoting "general welfare?"

Now we have much newer problems such as the protection of our citizens from tainted food (salmonella, botulism, etc). The USDA has been working on preventing the import of unsafe items, especially food (remember the toothpaste scare?)

There's so much to discuss here. What needs change? What is archaic? What is missing? Like what was originally said by Erin, how are we are to prioritize with so many urgent issues? I'd much rather teach a person how to grow tomatoes than to give them a gun.

By: larry Cain | Apr 21, 2011 07:39 PM | Permalink
Gosh guys... why did you have to go make your site political? I do not need or want your political opinions...on ANYTHING ! Keep it to yourselves. Yeah, it's YOUR newsletter...BUT.. by the time my eyes realize I'm reading political moralizing comments ...it's too late to look away...so saying I can just not read it is fairly naive. You abused my trust. I hold that against you but will not unsubscribe UNLESS you pull that garbage again. Then without hesitation I will unsubscribe and not support ANY event or activity or sponsor you are involved with.

As for the hungry..?.. feed them. As for 'forced charity'.. through higher taxes..forget it. The government gets way too much of our money already and spends it like a socialist drunken sailor. Tighten up stupid expenditures and ineffective government efforts and there is already enough money in the hands of our government to feed the world...even the folks who just want an improved life style without paying the dues required. The entrepreneurial "rich" aren't just "fortunate"...they've taken risk, employed americans, worked, invested , saved, and spent wisely..and deserve their just desserts just as those who aren't willing to study, work, save and spend wisely deserve what they have.... and not a penny more. ALL citizens should pay a matching percentage of their income.. low earners or high earners..either way. An ambitious earner and spender shouldn't be penalized because he believed in and worked for the american dream. The not so motivated earner has a right to be less ambitiious but not to pay less tax and want the difference made up by the more successful among us. I've NEVER gotten a job from a poor man. Class warfare is not grounded in 'fairness' but is simply envy cloked in 'morality'.

OK..you got political.. I got politcal right back at you..so..now...Stop getting political...your are clouding your mesage of healthy eating with self righteous political opinions.

By: John Hensley | Apr 21, 2011 07:30 PM | Permalink
@ Amy Walke, well said. You hit the nail on the head. This comment is not meant to offend anyone, if we are to have an open honest debate, then we must be willing to view the situation honestly, and the situation is America is broke. We owe foreign governments far to much money, such as China, who by the way if you have not figured out are not our friends. We can no longer support everyone's Health Care, Food Stamps or any number other number of other programs that were put in place to give people a hand up, not for it to become a lifestyle for people who abuse the system. I believe we should share the tax burden it is going to take all of us to get us out of this mess, not just the wealthy paying the majority of the taxes, that's not fair. The fair tax would level the playing field everyone will pay into the system, illegal immigrants, drug dealers, prostitutes, average joes, all of us. Shut down the IRS and the over complicated tax code that hardly no one understands and start digging our selves out of the whole we made. This would solve the problem, in my most humble opinion. We can no longer continue to fund these programs any longer, they must be reformed and reduced period.

By: Don McPherson | Apr 21, 2011 07:30 PM | Permalink
I couldnt disagree more with your commentary. As a small business owner filing as an individual you can rest assured I pay well more than my "fair share".

By: Dee Johnson | Apr 21, 2011 07:34 PM | Permalink
Count me in with those who have already said that it was very off-putting to getting a political opinion based email from Local Harvest. If I want political commentary, I know where to find it. I opened my inbox to Local Harvest for information about food sources, not for your political views.

While I will not immediately unsubscribe, I hope this doesn't happen again, as I would strongly be moved to unsubscribe if it did.

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