On Wednesday we made a quick leap back in time to the World War era and took a look at messages from the period that are still relevant to today's food system. But there is more to early 20th century food and agriculture than anti-waste propaganda (with the most positive of connotations implied by that word). In fact, post-Dust Bowl policies served as precursors for our present-day Farm Bill.
In 1933, the Agricultural Adjustment Act (AAA) provided price supports and subsidies to grow certain crops and keep pieces of land fallow, in order to raise the value of crops and avoid a surplus. Not only do we still have crop subsidies (particularly for corn), but this act set up U.S. agriculture in favor of big producers rather than small farms and sharecroppers. Surplus crops also factored into foreign food aid, which we will explore next week!
Finally, getting to the environmental side of things, legislation at this time was also responding heavily to Dust Bowl challenges. A product of severe drought, conversion of prairie land, and extensive cropping systems devoid of fallow periods or cover crops to replenish the soil, the "Dirty Thirties" were a period of severe hardship for rural communities in the central part of the country and those who depended on them. The Soil Conservation and Domestic Allotment Act addressed these land degradation issues and formed the early skeleton of conservation programs, such as the Conservation Reserve Program, administered by the US Department of Agriculture.
Ok, so perhaps this wasn't much of a "fast fact" for Friday, but it is terribly interesting!
academic agriculture almond amaranth animals apples apricot asparagus avocado baking banana bars basil beans bees beets berries biodiversity blog action day blueberries book bread Cabbage Cake carob carrots cashew cauliflower celery chard Cheese cherry chickpeas chocolate chocolate with a soul Cinnamon rolls climate change coconut coffee commodities conflict conservation contest cookies corn crisp cucumber culture dairy daring bakers dates deforestation dess dessert eggplant eggs Environment Ethics fair trade fennel figs film fish Food Waste Foodie blogroll Frugal Foodie Gardening garlic gender ginger gluten-free GMO grains granola grapes Greens hazelnut health history Holiday honey horseradish human rights hunger ice cream Indian Kale Kiwi kohlrabi lemon lentils lime Live Below the Line livestock macarons mango markets melon mint muffin Munchable Soapbox mushrooms nutrition nuts okra olive oil onion orange organic pasta Pastry peaches peanut butter Pears peas peppers Pie pistachio plum policy pollution potatoes poverty Produce of the Week protein quinoa Rabe raw resources restaurants rhubarb risotto root vegetables salad seafood sesame smoothie social justice SOS soup spinach Squash stevia strawberry sunchoke sunflower seeds sustainability sweet potato tea tempeh Tofu tomato tradition trains Travel Turnip Vegan Vegan MoFo water wheat berries winter squash zucchini