The Farm Bill is an enormous and very important piece of legislation that determines what farmers grow and, as a consequence, what Americans eat. You might not know it from listening to the news, but the bill is being debated in Congress right now.
Every five years or so, Congress passess an enormous piece of legislation informally known as the Farm Bill. Outside of certain nonprofit and agribusiness circles, it doesn't get a lot of attention. But it's incredibly important, because it sets the policies that determine what America grows and eats. And surprise: The Farm Bill is pretty flawed. Over the decades, it's been distorted by business to favor unsustainable farming. It's not only wasting taxpayer money—it's making our diets worse and harming the environment.
Unraveling the Farm Bill—the unwieldy set of laws and policies Congress passes every five or so years to govern American agriculture—is no simple task. It is a tangle of contradictory policies, programs with crazy acronyms, and dollar figures that boggle the mind. But the more you tug at that string, the clearer it becomes that the Farm Bill is attached to just about everything: poverty, agribusiness, environmental conservation, rural development, human health, corporate consolidation, foreign trade, and, most importantly, food.