NPR reports that $20b is spent annually on air conditioning in Iraq and Afghanistan. Now consider the speculation that agricultural programs may face cuts of $ 2o b to $ 30 b in the 2012 Farm Bill. It makes you wonder when our priorities went so astray. Sure, the welfare of troops in combat is crucial but it is time now to bring them to comforts at home and free up the money spent on endless engagements to restore the economy to a robust state. When there are 15 m children hungry, the battle has to be fought at home. Right now, as we are surrounded by the bounty of summer, luscious tomatoes and gleaming blueberries, hunger is an acute problem for kids who depend on the school lunch program the rest of the year. The annual school lunch budget? $ 9b. It can be argued that there is much room for improvement here.
There is no denying that we are going through testing times. While we do have the financial resources and skills to overcome this challenge, we need to make tough decisions regarding our priorities. This is not the time to make safe choices and cling to the status quo or live in denial. 2012 is not only the year for the next Farm Bill to be passed, it is also election year. When your candidate comes to ask for your vote, make sure he/she knows that food security, food safety and a fair food system are priorities for all of us.