Target: Tom Vilsack, United States Secretary of Agriculture
Goal: Allocate farm subsidies to the farming of healthy fruits and vegetables and not just animal agriculture
Feed grains that are used in animal agriculture to sustain animals, such as corn, wheat, and soy, account for more than half of all crop subsidies in the United States. While people can eat these crops, they are not enough to have a balanced diet and other crops like fruits and vegetables remain expensive and out of reach for many. Let the Secretary of Agriculture know that access to healthy food cannot be a luxury and urge him to subsidize food that people actually need to maintain a healthy lifestyle.
For many years, farm subsidies have been mainly given to crops that are used in animal agriculture to feed animals in the meat, dairy, and egg industries. These industries employ huge lobbies, which ensure that growing what they need to make a profit is the main priority in the Department of Agriculture. However, extensive research has shown the health risks associated with the high consumption of animal products, including diabetes, heart disease, obesity, and other issues that pose a threat to American public health. In this reality, making animal products more affordable than fruits and vegetables, which should the majority of what we eat, is imposing serious health risks to entire communities. Lower income neighborhoods and families are disproportionately affected by this, and suffer the most severe health problems due to lack of access to fresh produce.
The high subsidy of these crops encourages farmers to grow these few grains, while other crops that are crucial for a balanced diet become rarer and more expensive. It also encourages other food manufacturers to use these grains’ bi-products, such as corn syrup, instead of less processed and healthier ingredients. This creates a situation where a huge variety of foods now have these ingredients in them, and they are much cheaper than the healthier alternatives, which again puts lower income communities at risk.
Humans of all financial backgrounds need a diverse diet and cannot rely on only animal products and corn. Accessing and purchasing fresh produce is a basic need, and that is exactly what farm subsidies are supposed to address. Let the Department of Agriculture know that they need to start subsidizing food that humans need instead of food that big corporations want.
Dear Mr. Vilsack,
I am writing to you regrading the distribution of farm subsidies offered by the Department of Agriculture. More than half of all subsidies for crops go to corn, soy, and wheat, which are mainly used as feed in animal agriculture. This leaves very little money to healthy fruits and vegetables that humans need as a part of a healthy and balanced diet. I demand that you redistribute the subsidies so that crops that people actually need will be more accessible—vegetables should not be a luxury only a few can afford.
When animal products, which actually cost more to produce and have been proven to have negative health impacts, are cheaper than simple fruits and vegetables, something is out of balance. When an entire meal in a fast food restaurant costs as much as one red pepper, something has to be done. Eating healthy should never be a luxury only the upper classes can afford—everyone should be able to access fresh produce for themselves and their families.
These subsidies have created an overuse of grains, their bi-products, and animal products, and have been putting lower income communities at risk for diabetes, hearth disease, obesity, and more. I ask that you immediately take action to balance the distribution of farm subsidies so that every American can have access to a balanced diet.
[Your Name Here]
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