Media Resources for Farm Bill 101

Who will Be the Farm Bill’s Biggest Loser (Subsidies and Obesity) Food and Water Watch, November, 2011

(Content below is Courtesy of Food and Tech Connect)

Ken Cook, Environmental Working Group (EWG) – Turning the Farm Bill into the Food Bill at TedxManhattan: Changing the Way We Eat.    In perhaps the most easily digestible Farm Bill talk ever, Ken Cook of the EWG lays out what the bill is and what is wrong with it using interesting graphics (maps, charts).   He also invites action on the bill, and tells you how to do it.  He even makes people laugh.

Viable Agricultural Solutions – designed by Will Tietje, undergraduate at Louisiana State University.   In this series of 14 in-depth visualizations, Tietje uses a 460-acre rice, crawfish, and soybean farm in Southwest Louisiana as a way to look at everything on a farm from equipment costs to subsidy payments.  In this model (which is admittedly quite complicated), a farmer farming 1000 acres, receives $70,000 in subsidy payments, but makes a profit of only $35,000 a year.  Unfortunately, each page of the project has to be opened separately in order to view the information, but perhaps the infographics will find a better home soon.

Farm Bill Budget Visualizer - John Hopkins Center for a Livable Future

This just-out Farm Bill Budget Visualizer promises hours of good clean fun for the whole family.  An elaborate “treemap,” the visual allows viewers to see a particular aspect of the Farm Bill budget in relation to all other parts.  Here we can see the granularity of budget allotments such as “research” which lists Organic Agriculture Research and Extension Initiative ($20 million in 2011) as just slightly better funded than Biotechnology Regulatory Services ($13 million in 2011).  A truly impressive work.

Understanding the Farm Bill – Institute for Agriculture and Trade Policy (IATP) and Matthew Foster

On a completely different note, IATP goes old school with a collection of updated WPA posters for the Farm Bill.  Each of the 8 posters, however, is connected to a paper outlining a particular angle on the Bill, such as A Fair Farm Bill for Renewable Energy,  or A Fair Farm Bill for the World’s Hungry.  While certainly not light reading, the papers are visually interesting, and focus on one particular piece of the puzzle, perhaps making it more easily understood and relevant to readers.

Commodity Cropism from Stefani Bardin on Vimeo. This is an elegant look at the prevalence of three big commodity crops in our lives – soy, sugar and corn.

Parents Stand Up For Food – Parent Earth Parents Stand Up For Food brings us a completely over-the-top video in which we learn some of the most horrifying stats connected to the Bill, like the fact that 1 out of 3 kids will be obese or diabetic by high school.  But their website also includes links to deepen ones understanding of what is in the bill, including videos with community leaders and physicians.

Winners of the Farm Bill Hack-a-thon: (courtesy of  Twighlight Greenaway, Grist, December 14, 2011)

The second-place project.
The third-place project.

The first-place prize went to “FARM BILL of Health,” a series of visualizations about the difference in support for fruit and vegetable crops versus commodities in the bill.

Second place went to Meatlessly, a mobile app to promote Meatless Monday by allowing people to find, share, and submit recipes, places, and feedback about their progress.

Third prize was awarded to a work in progress looking at the international implications of the Farm Bill and the idea that crop subsidies in the U.S. drive further hunger and poverty in foreign nations.

The map that took fourth-place.

Fourth place went to ongoing work to map the congressional districts of the Agricultural Committee members. The maps will allow users to see who is on the committees, where they are from, their website and contact information, and other pertinent information like who is supporting them financially and what is grown in their region.

Read more about the winners on Food and Tech Connect.

More cool projects

This runner-up graphic sought to illuminate meat production and industry consolidation:

Two more that caught our eye:

  1. A free mobile app for farmers to use on smart phones on-site at farmers markets and farm stands called FarmTab that would let customers run a tab.
  2. An infographic showing federal support for established vs. new farms (a key issue in the 2012 Farm Bill).

See more of the great graphics produced at the Hack-a-thon by clicking HERE:

Northwest Farm Bill Action Group • • 2011
Design based on Missed Spring theme • Rainier image courtesy of USGS/Cascades Volcano Observatory