Thursday, October 14, 2010

Buying Local Halfway Across the Globe


By Yifat Susskind

As individuals, Americans are generous, often donating in response to crises abroad even while struggling to make ends meet at home. We tend to assume that our government’s foreign aid is similarly altruistic. But is it?

October 16 is World Food Day, a good time to examine this assumption about U.S. food aid and begin to press for some much-needed improvements.

Meet Khalida Mahmoud, a 29-year-old woman whose farming family was driven into worsening poverty, after U.S. food aid poured into her home region of eastern Sudan. That’s not how food aid is supposed to work, but just look at the policy: your tax dollars are used to buy grain from U.S. factory farms, the same giant corporations that already receive $26 billion in tax subsidies. Then the grain is transported halfway around the world, using thousands of gallons of fossil fuel and releasing tons of harmful carbon emissions into the atmosphere. The transport typically takes months while hungry people grow more desperate.

Click here to read the full article.