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Cook The Vote

October 2, 2007

This is pretty cool:  Cook the Vote is a grassroots campaign devoted to developing a fully informed electorate through community dining.  Started by Efrain Cuevas in Chicago, there’s not a whole heck of a lot not to like about this organization.  I might even be so bold as to try and host one of my own dinners, but the occasional challenge in these parts is finding someone with an opposing viewpoint! 

Big ups and thanks to the newsletter produced by the fine folks at the Urban Alliance for Sustainability who clued me in to this little piece of interesting phenomena…

That being said, it’s another opportunity to espouse my feelings on the Farm Bill in two words:  It Sucks.  I’ll backpedal a bit and say that it needs overhauling.  First off, the name needs to be changed from Farm Bill to Food Bill to more accurately reflect what it is we’re talking about here.  It is a labyrinthine mess of subsidies, write-offs, earmarks and more that are SUPPOSED to help the farmer, when in fact it mostly hurts the ideal of the American family farm.

What we need is a Farm Bill that supports vegetable growers, polyculture and family farms, and not absentee CornPeddlers working massively overscaled, highly mechanized, petroleum-sucking properties that survive solely on the basis of two things:  1)  Farm Bill based subsidies, and 2)  the commodity food processors that have found a way to put more corn in your diet than you ever thought possible.  I’ve mentioned it before, but the current reader on food and farm policies is clearly Micahel Pollan’s Omnivore’s Dilemma, and I urge you all to read it.  Not only an important and seminal work by a gifted scribe, it is a fabulously enjoyable piece to read.  Learn why even amidst of veritable sea of corn a 2 litre of soda and a big mac are still cheaper than a dozen ears of corn.  Fuzzy economics indeed. It’s also the root of a rising epidemic of childhood obesity, diabetes, ADHD and all sorts of other various and assorted maladies presumed by many to be caused by our diets rich in HFCS, Sodium Benzoate, Modified Food Starch and thousands of others just like them. 

Come on people, Food first…Politics second!

But now back to Cook The Vote.  It may not be the first supper-club, underground gourmet dining affair to hit the market, but it may be the first one so politically inclined.  Take a look at Chef Efrain Cuevas’ site and think about both the Farm Bill, and hosting your own Cook The Vote dinner…

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