First, I want to make it clear that this isn't a political rant. I'm using this forum to present to you how Government farm subsidies have broken our agricultural system and how large food manufacturers have taken advantage of it.
According to Wikipedia, "A subsidy is assistance to a business or economic sector or producers." The farm subsidies that I'm writing about were originally put into place to protect farmers and help grow the agricultural industry. But that was a long time ago.
Today, the very food that is making us (Americans) fat and unhealthy is also being subsidized by the government. Products such as wheat, corn, and soy (which can be found in almost EVERY processed food product sold) are supported by our tax dollars and at the same time is one of the very root causes of the decline in health and increase in healthcare costs. Cheap subsidized food is exactly why McDonalds can have a dollar menu; that food would actually cost more if it weren’t subsidized.
The Atlantic has put together a list of the top nine products that the government most heavily subsidizes: Corn Wheat Soybeans Rice Beer Milk Beef Peanut Butter Sunflower Oil
Now, imagine if the government subsidized organic fruits and veggies and grass-fed beef; the prices would drop, consumption would go up, and our health (and environment) as a nation would improve. The opposite effect would happen to junk/processed food. Another option would be to take away subsidies altogether, which would raise the cost of junk food to make it more comparable to healthy food.
The surprising fact is that farmers actual get paid by the government ($5-16 billion a year in direct payments) to just own the land that could potentially produce corn and soybeans. They are being paid even if they don't produce anything! (Watch the movie King Corn).
So, keep in mind that every time you buy groceries, you’re voting; you’re telling the company that makes a product, I support you and the “food” you make. Do you want to vote for nutrition-dense REAL food or processed junk that makes you unhealthy and fat? You can support REAL food by buying from local farmers' markets and being part of a CSA (Community Supported Agriculture) or start your own garden.