One major component in sustainability of our food chain depends on the ability of small farmers to produce native crops for local populations. Every “locavore” knows that when we support local, independent farmers, we are reducing our dependence on fuels for shipping, getting food fresher, and slowing closing the vast gaping door through which all corporatized agro-business flows.
And while CSAs are cropping up all over the country as individuals and communities enthusiastically support these farms, the U.S. government once again stands on the sidelines despite their big opportunity to right serious wrongs done to such indy farmers.
What wrongs? Done to who? Check the National Black Farmers Association to learn more about how Black farmers have been set at a disadvantage by the US Department of Agriculture, and the class action lawsuit (1997 Pigford v. Glickman) that was filed and settled over a decade ago. The National Black Farmers Association reports, “The original lawsuit stemmed from Department of Agriculture farm loans wrongly denied to black farmers because of racial discrimination during the period of 1983 to 1997. Many farmers who were discriminated against eventually lost their farms. The lawsuit settlement called for payments of $50,000 to each farmer.”
Yet, just this August, the Senate has again failed (as it has for the last 10 years) to distribute this meager compensation, totaling around $5 billion. It was a block by the Republicans. Perhaps they considered the attempt at payment a “pork bill” that weighed down the war budget in which the money was provisioned. That would be funny. I suppose I’m happy they didn’t mix food money with blood money… that just feels dirty.
Anyway, this particular bail out just doesn’t seem to top the priority list for our money lending Senate which keeps doling out dollars to the bigtime bank robbers…