As usual, I goofed on the deadline for the publishing dates for the Dark Days Challenge (maybe I should use the calendar that I was given for Christmas?). I was reading the re-caps of the others participating and came upon a fantastic article the at explains (for me anyway) one of the reasons the entire SOLE “trend” is very important. Barbara at the Crowing Hen posted a wonderful article about the conditions in the meat industry in the US. For me, it’s that PLUS the insane amount of energy we expend getting items from the farm to the grocery store.
As the writers over at EmptyWheel noted regarding a complex cotton subsidy program:
“In WTO language, Brazil was allowed to suspend its obligations to U.S. companies under the Trade-related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights (TRIPS) agreement. This constituted a major threat to the profits of U.S. agribusiness giants Monsanto and Pioneer, since Brazil is the second largest grower of biotech crops in the world. Fifty percent of Brazil’s corn harvest is engineered to produce the pesticide Bt, and Monsanto’s YieldGard VT Pro is a popular product among Brazilian corn farmers. By targeting the profits of major U.S. corporations, the Brazilian government put the U.S. in a tough spot: either let the subsidies stand and allow Brazilian farmers to plant Monsanto and Pioneer seeds without paying royalties, or substantially reform the cotton program. In essence, Brazil was pitting the interests of Big Agribusiness against those of Big Cotton, and the U.S. government was caught in the middle.
The two governments, however, managed to come up with a creative solution. In a 2009 WTO “framework agreement,” the U.S. created the Commodity Conservation Corporation (CCC), and Brazil created the Brazilian Cotton Institute (BCI). Rather than eliminating or substantially reforming cotton subsidies, the CCC pays the BCI $147 million dollars a year in “technical assistance,” which happens to be the same amount the WTO authorized for trade retaliation specifically for cotton payments. In essence, then, the U.S. government pays a subsidy to Brazilian cotton farmers every year to protect the U.S. cotton program—and the profits of companies like Monsanto and Pioneer.”
How many sustainable jobs would $147 million dollars create for local economies? Yes, I live on a dry bones budget: there are 2 things I simply cannot avoid buying from big time producers: cat food and cat litter. I have a 14-year-old cat: I’m not switching his brands, he’s too old. Part of my resolution for this years is to buy as much as I can from SOLE providers, then local merchants and local chains last. Will it do anything to help revive the economy of my community: doubtful. Is it a teaspoon in bucket? Yes.
Any way, for my blogged about SOLE meal of the week, I made a huge pot of Cuban inspired black bean soup.
2 lb black beans from Baer’s Best Beans (soaked overnight, drained, rinsed)
2 quarts canned whole tomatoes from Old Nourse Farm (summer CSA), with juices
3 medium onions chopped from Shared Harvest
3 medium jalapeno peppers, seeds removed, chopped (from Mass Local Food)
4 cloves garlic also from Shared harvest
2 quarts cold water (you may need to add more while cooking the beans).
For me, it was simple, dump everything into a big stock pot cook until beans are soft. Blend with an immersion blender. Add hot sauce/salt as needed. I garnish with a local cheese.