Some “Local” Food Iniative That Really Make a Difference

In all of the talk about eating locally, we often forget that North America exports a huge amount of food to other countries. Some of it with strings attached.

CARE ­ a major international development NGO ­ has announced a major policy shift in their food aid strategy. The aid organization will no longer accept American federal financing for food aid. US food aid funding comes with strings attached ­ it requires that the funds be used to purchase American commodities which are then resold in developing countries to finance poverty reduction programmes. But the practice undermines agricultural production in these regions, perpetuating the need for food aid while supporting major American agribusiness firms. CARE now faces the formidable challenge of making up lost funding.

In order to support US farms and to have an end user for an awful lot of US-grown food that would otherwise go to waste (because despite the fact that in poorer US cities, many people don’t have access to a supermarket, the US actually grows more food than they can use), food aid to foreign countries is handed out not in the form of money for those countries to buy the food they want and need, but in the form of US-grown foodstuffs. The deal was always if you want aid, you must take it in the form of US commodities in order to qualify for the additional cash.

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