Agriculture Workshop Comment Number: AGW-13522

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Comment Number: AGW-13522

Sent: Monday, December 28, 2009 7:41 PM
To: ATR-Agricultural Workshops
Subject: Comments Regarding Agriculture and Antitrust Enforcement Issues in Our 21st Century Economy

I am a dance teacher in Newtown, CT. As someone who's interested in community gardens, environmental justice, composting, and eating more delicious and nutritious food, I think about food issues a lot.

I'm very concerned about the consolidation of power in the agricultural and food processing sectors, for a number of important reasons:

Our food supply is not safe. Through my personal research, I firmly believe that it's just a matter of time before a major outbreak of a food-borne illness hits. I feel completely powerless here. I can choose to grow my own (which I did some this summer) and choose to shop at the local farmers' markets (this was easy over the summer when there was a once a week market near me; it's much harder in the winter.), and try to frequent restaurants that use local produce... But that's not enough to keep me safe from a widespread epidemic. I can do some of those things some of the time, but I can't do all of them all the time, so I feel like a sitting duck.

It seems that food prices are set by just a few companies. I watch prices rise, and feel there's really nothing I can do about it. My food budget is stretched, and I have teenager with a growing appetite, not a decreasing one!

Also, food from the large grocery stores tastes like nothing. I heard groundbreaking urban farming entrepreneur and MacArthur genius grant winner Will Allen speak recently. He said that much of the imported food we eat is simply cellulose, and I believe it. The food I get at local farmers' markets is always tastier and fresher, but I don't always have time to go to them, and they're more expensive. I'd like to be able to get fresh, local food at my supermarket, but there doesn't seem to be a way for the small farmers to get their products into these big chains.

Finally, as food and agricultural corporations have grown and consolidated, their lobbies have become ever more powerful, ultimately influencing every aspect of US agricultural policy -- with consequences that are entirely detrimental to public health. It makes my blood boil that my tax dollars subsidize the production of corn syrup, for example, which is significantly contributing to the obesity crisis -- which is then requiring even more of my tax dollars to address.

Thank you for the opportunity to express my concern on this matter. I look forward to following this investigation in the coming year.


Patricia Campbell

18 Dinglebrook Lane

Newtown, CT 06470

Updated April 7, 2016

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