Monday, February 2, 2009

In Need of Repair

I've been thinking (all together now)...a dangerous pastime.

Then, I happened to read something on those thoughts and then I thought some more. Think. Think. Think. (as a certain Milne character might say)

What are some of the biggest blocks for an increase in local food producers?

I can give you one. Health Care.

In fact, I think you could expand this into the category of - what stops many of our conventional farmers from innovating and trying new things? Health Care.

Before you think I'm posting on this because we're having difficulties, let me assure you that we are fine. Both of us are in good health and we do have reasonable health insurance. Why? Because, one of us works full time off the farm. And it is SOOO easy for people who have health insurance to not make this a priority issue.

And, there lies one of the key points. If you haven't figured it out yet - farming and growing food (at whatever level), is a full-time endeavor. Yet, if you want health insurance, someone in your family must work another full-time job. Add into this, the current levels of unemployment and the fact that many businesses would like to cut costs AND the higher rates for insurance. What MUST we conclude - it's time to reorganize our health care system.

And, while we're at it, let's find a way to stop penalizing local food systems to further our health network. Or better yet, let's make it possible for the healthiest foods to be delivered to our schools, hospitals, retirement homes and other institutions that are key to the health of people.

Let's fix this people. Are you busy? Yes? Do something anyway.

Look at this information provided by the Center for Rural Affairs. Towards the bottom are several models for solutions. I am not advocating at present for any one of these - just that we must see progress. There's been talk - and no effective action.

You may also find food for thought at the Access Project. The Access Project is a result of some of the work at the Heller School for Social Policy and Management at Brandeis University. Once again, I'm not advocating a specific solution - but we need to be pushing to get one.

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