The food industry spends $15 billion per year marketing to children. The Federal School Lunch Program spends only $7 billion feeding school children.
One of my favorite graphics in Daniel Imhoff’s new book shows a tray of school cafeteria food with the following caption: “The food industry spends $15 billion per year marketing to children. The Federal School Lunch Program spends only $7 billion to feed our children in the public schools. The Federal School Lunch Reimbursement is $2.32 per meal. Approximately 95 cents is spent on food and 97 cents on labor.” Imhoff’s book, Food Fight: The Citizen’s Guide to a Food and Farm Bill, is full of these kinds of infuriating eyeopeners. In a succinct, clear, USA Today type format, the book relates that the food and farming policy in this country is dysfunctional and expensive, as well as harmful to the environment, human health and our communities.
Food Fight The Citizen’s Guide to a Food and Farm Bill, by Daniel Imhoff 2007; 167 pages Watershed Media www.watershedmedia.org
Imhoff, who is the publishing force behind such books as Farming and the Fate of Wild Nature and Farming with the Wild, the power of images. In his latest book he is using that power to address an issue that’s been long ignored by the public: our federal farm policy.
Imhoff’s book provides an invaluable service in a year when a new federal Farm Bill is being written up. He summarizes the studies, media reports and sleep-inducing statistics in brief, easy to digest graphics and text. Don’t let the readability of this book fool you into thinking this is lightweight material.
These are some heavy topics Imhoff is addressing. For example, “…nearly 40 million Americans, 12 percent of all households, confront food insecurity, meaning that they often experience hunger or need to skip meals to get by. Many are children,” reads one sentence above a photo of a homeless man sleeping on the sidewalk.
Imhoff also uses clear explanatory writing to address complicated matters like the history of U.S. farm programs, how New Zealand reformed its system and what can be done here, now, to reform ours. This is a quick read and that’s good, because the 2007 Farm Bill deliberations are upon on. Read this book and call your Senators and Representatives armed with facts, figures and a little bit of anger.