Thursday, March 11, 2010

For Your Consideration: School Lunches and Prison Farms

Photo by Rick Loomis / Los Angeles Times

Editors note: this is a first in a new series of posts that we are hoping to function as virtual newspaper clippings--articles and perspectives that we are passing along to our readers to share and discuss. 

By Ian Halbert

More to chew on in our investigations into Farmville, USA.

Jamie Oliver, as highlighted in our last Farmville post, is mounting a new effort (complete with a companion series on ABC) to reform our dysfunctional relationship with food and our food’s dysfunctional relationship with industry. Consider the following preview clip concerning school lunches and “chicken”:

Now contrast this state of affairs with an Orlando prison:

That’s right: in this country, farm-fresh healthy produce and livestock are denied to our children, but freely provided to those who have broken the law. The newscasters’ focus on the economic advantages of using locally farmed and harvested food, while simplistic, is not surprising. There is a strange irony here: as thousands of families have been and are being dispossessed of their farms, we offer farming as a punishment to prisoners, to correct for the cost we bear in keeping them out of our communities.