Tuesday, April 24, 2007

Land Use, Veggies, Food, and Farm Subsidies

THM pointed out this article in the New York Times Magazine by Michael Pollan. Pollan is the author of The Omnivore's Dilemma (in addition to lots of other things), and this article is on a similar topic. The article is primarily about the economy of nutrition and the effects that the farm bill has on the price and production of food. At it's heart this is also a land use issue, and therefore appropriate for posting on an earth science blog. I'll do a proper review of The Omnivore's Dilemma at some point in the future, but as for now you'll have to settle for the links.

6 comments:

Chuck said...

"this article" does not link to the NYT magazine. It links to the Stanford/USGS SHRIMP research highlights page.

Thermochronic said...

Thanks for the link correction (I am not sure what the name for the habit of pasting the wrong thing is called.)
On a related note, if the topic of land use and food interests you, check out this movie, I only know about it because the central figure also attended TMLAC, and I found out through the alumni newsletter, but the movie is great all the same.

thm said...

If one is generally interested in the issues that Pollan brings up in Omnivore's Dilemma, I would also suggest the Ethicurean blog. (Motto: chew the right thing.) It's where I initially found the NYTM article.

Chuck said...

It looks like he wants things both ways- he criticizes the farm bill for depressing corn prices, but he then turns around and complains about the corn price increase related to ethanol production.

As I mentioned before here, burning all that processed sugar and fat in internal compustion engines would drive up the middle aisle prices, making unhealthy food less affordable.

Thermochronic said...

I think his ethanol-corn point is that tying the corn markets of the US and Mexico can lead to all kinds of problems. Higher corn prices may not mean much by US standards (enough to affect middle aisle foods), but by Mexican standards it could be very significant.
And, I think the point shouldn't be to make unhealthy food more expensive but to make healthy food less expensive.

Vibrato said...

Having the government drive up the price of corn, drives up all prices. This year is the biggest corn crop ever. Where does that land come from? Corn requires machines, fuel, fertilizer, and pesticides, which all could be used elsewhere. Organic farming relies on animal poop, the price of which will also go up.