A Curse, a Blessing, and a Good Food Movement

family-farm-350In 1972, I was part of a nationwide campaign that came close to getting the US Senate to reject Earl Butz, Richard Nixon’s choice for secretary of agriculture.

A coalition of grassroots farmers, consumers, and public interest organizations teamed up with progressive senators to undertake the almost impossible challenge of defeating the cabinet nominee.

The 51 to 44 Senate vote was so close, because we were able to expose Butz as… well, as butt-ugly. We brought the abusive power of corporate agribusiness into the public consciousness for the first time. We had won a moral victory, but it turned out to be a curse and a blessing.

First, the curse. Butz had risen to prominence in the world of agriculture by devoting himself to the corporate takeover of the global food economy. He openly promoted the preeminence of middleman food manufacturers over family farmers.

“Agriculture is no longer a way of life,” he barked, “it’s a business.” He instructed farmers to “Get big or get out” – and proceeded to shove tens of thousands of them out by promoting an export-based, corporate-run food economy. “Adapt,” he warned, “or die.” The ruination of farms and rural communities, Butz added, “releases people to do something useful in our society.”

jim hightowerThe curse of Butz, however, spun off a blessing. Small farmers and food artisans practically threw up at the resulting Twinkieization of America’s food. They were sickened that nature’s own contribution to human culture was being turned into another plasticized product of corporate profiteers. They threw themselves into creating and sustaining a viable alternative. Linking locally with consumers, environmentalists, community activists, marketers, and others, the Good Food rebellion has since sprouted, spread, and blossomed from coast to coast. To find farmers markets and other expressions of this movement right where you live, go to www.LocalHarvest.org.

Jim Hightower
America’s #1 Populist

Published by the LA Progressive on January 2, 2014
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About Jim Hightower

National radio commentator, writer, public speaker, and author of the book, Swim Against The Current: Even A Dead Fish Can Go With The Flow, Jim Hightower has spent three decades battling the Powers That Be on behalf of the Powers That Ought To Be - consumers, working families, environmentalists, small businesses, and just-plain-folks.

Twice elected Texas Agriculture Commissioner, Hightower believes that the true political spectrum is not right to left but top to bottom, and he has become a leading national voice for the 80 percent of the public who no longer find themselves within shouting distance of the Washington and Wall Street powers at the top.

Hightower is a modern-day Johnny Appleseed, spreading the message of progressive populism all across the American grassroots.

He broadcasts daily radio commentaries that are carried in more than 150 commercial and public stations, on the web, and on Radio for Peace International.

See more here: http://jimhightower.com/jim

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