MAIL SACK 


The farm report

I really enjoyed your feature this week. All too often the Weekly gets carried away with self-indulgent crusades or undeserved hipster paeans. “Fat of the land” `May 1` was a well-researched and timely article. The latest farm bill still hasn’t been passed, but I thought you missed out (or didn’t have room) to consider the international demands on United States farm policy. The Doha Round of World Trade Organization agriculture negotiations has stalled for several years because we’re obligated (by international treaty) to reduce farm subsidies. The previous farm bill ignored this, as will the next one.

 It’s nice to see the Weekly in front of an important story like this. This issue has big implications locally, nationally and worldwide, and you did a fine job with it (at least on the local and national front).

Anyway, I really enjoy your work when you stick to well-thought-out journalism. Blister, on the other hand, is something I’ll never appreciate. We all like to get tipsy and drop names, but does it really require a weekly column?

Jack Adams, via the Internet

Phat article

A quick note to thank you for the fine job on your article this week `“Fat of the land,” May 1`. Poverty and obesity are two things that don’t add up for most people in the general public, and represent one of the most counterintuitive aspects of hunger in America. You presented an interesting and thoughtful perspective (along with a pretty nifty illustration!).

After 22 years in the nonprofit/food banking field, I can tell you that the single hardest thing to get from people in the 21st century is not their charitable dollars, or food donations, or even their volunteer time. The hardest thing by far to get from people today is simply their attention. I’ve found that when we can do that effectively, all the other things begin to flow naturally as personal awareness increases. People still care about others today, but they first have to really understand a problem before they can make a decision to help. Your piece helped get some attention, and I am grateful. Keep up the good work.

Greg Higgerson, Second Harvest Food Bank

Word

It’s not often that we see all the pieces of the puzzle laid out in one place. The food stamp challenge piece by Jessica Bryce Young `“Fueled by ramen,” May 1` will be an eye opener for many. I hope the article generates both discussion and action on the community’s part. I would really like to take you to some of our partners; you would be amazed at the range of services available in the community.

Zella Reid, ACCESS Florida

Cheating?

Hey, I just wanted to let you know how much I enjoyed your articles on food and food stamps in this week’s paper. Your one-month experiment eating on $165 was fascinating `“Fueled by ramen,” May 1. It was really neat to see how someone with values similar to mine would approach that challenge!

However, the one thing I think you may have missed is other household consumables I’ll bet people on food stamps need to buy out of that $165. Toothpaste? Soap (dish, body and laundry)? Trash bags? It may have been tougher than you realized. Anyway, great read!

Jason M., via the Internet

Editor’s note: Only edible items can be purchased with food stamps.

Plastic’s past

I enjoyed your story `“The war on plastic,” May 1`. You might wish to consult an old-timer, though, regarding how plastic bags came into use. Plastic was hated, and customers resisted them for a long time. Grocers did not like them either, because they were more expensive at first, not less expensive. Environmentalists guilted everyone into using plastic to “save the trees,” and they eventually caught on with the mainstreaming of environmentalism.

Instead of returning to paper, it would be nice for grocers to provide reusable canvas bags which the customer could return on the next visit. I bet it would be cheaper in the long run.

Wavy Davy, via the Internet

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