Cultural Encounters: A Journal For The Theology Of Culture Volume 11 Number 2 (Summer 2016) - Page 32

VOLUME 11 NUMBER 2 2016 FOOD FIGHT CONFERENCE PLENARY 2 Max Finberg: Before the second panel talks about Portland’s food scene at large, I would like to share a little bit about the US Department of Agriculture and some of both the resources and information that might be of interest. In case you missed it the first time, National Geographic has amazing articles, great facts, fabulous photography, and you can go to natgeo, the abbreviation for National Geographic, natgeofoodapp.com and get some of what I find to be a great, fair presentation of a lot of the issues, whether it’s the five step plan to feed the world, the next bread basket, the new face of hunger here in the United States, the evolution of diet that includes talk of eating some insects, and the next green revolution. You can take a look at some great graphic presentations of data. I wanted to start this session by mentioning where your taxpayer dollars are at work in the midst of this food fight. USDA.gov is the US Department of Agriculture’s website. Here is a little background: In 1862, the Civil War was going on, and President Abraham Lincoln realized that even in the midst of the most existential threat to our union, we needed to do something like create the department of agriculture. So that’s what he did. And he called it the People’s Department because about 25 percent of our countrymen and women back then were farmers or ranchers and directly involved in agriculture. That dropped down to about 10 percent or so around the turn of the century, and now it’s fewer than 2 percent. But the Department of Agriculture has a massive mission. And we do many things. Is there someone here from Ecumenical Ministries of Oregon? Jenny. Greetings. Jenny and EMO have received funding from the Department of Agriculture in the past. You might ask, “I thought USDA just paid farmers. Aren’t they just about the production side of agriculture?” Well, that’s of course part of it and was some of where we started. But it’s so much more. And that’s what I want you to take, even if you don’t remember all of the specifics. We have a lot of programs, a lot of acronyms; we love our acronyms in government, and we swim in our own alphabet soup sometimes. But this is a great resource to find some more information. For example, I wanted to show you this because you will appreciate it, and it’s a great set-up for the panel. If you go down under “highlighted initiative: Know Your Farmer, Know Your Food,” what pops up is a fabulous website that was designed by my friend Elanor Starmer, and she’s helped pull all of this together. So you see the “K Y F Compass: Know DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.11630/1550-4891.11.02.29 29