Sunday, June 26, 2011

What Has Foxx Been Up To?

Nothing good, naturally. From her perch on the House Agriculture Committee, she launched a recent attack on the "locavore" (local foods, small farmers) movement, detailed in this account by one of her 5th District constituents, Tom Philpott. Here's the conclusion of his assessment:
...And now we get a full-frontal attack from the House, in the form of the dread Rep. Foxx's amendment to shut down Know Your Farmer. Like her stances on gay marriage and immigration, Foxx's jihad against Know Your Farmer is absurd. She mounted her attack based on budget concerns; but the initiative has no budget of its own. As the National Sustainable Agriculture Coalition dryly put it recently, "The practical impact of the Foxx amendment is unclear. The Know Your Farmer, Know Your Food initiative is not a program per se and does not have its own budget. Hence it is difficult to know how USDA would interpret the restriction."

I suspect Foxx's move wasn't really about saving money, since you don't save much by shutting down a website; but rather about sending a message: The USDA belongs to the companies that dominate US food and ag, not to the communities working on the ground to create alternatives. There's more at stake here than just a web site. The Know Your Farmer flap is really about whether our political system is capable of conducting even moderately progressive food and farm policy.

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