Let’s talk about Mexican produce

mexico1

Yesterday White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer stated that one of the options being considered to pay for the border wall is a 20% tax on Mexican imported goods. Later various White House people scaled back on that saying it would be more like 5% or emphasizing “it’s just one of the options” .

I don’t think this option will be popular with Congress and it won’t be an option they’ll go with but it’s worth talking about anyway.

Americans, especially those who support Trump, should be offended by this proposal. This administration is essentially asking Americans to pay for the wall not once but twice. Taxpayer money pays for the building of the wall. Those funds are “reimbursed” through this tax, paid for by American consumers. Either Trump is truly an idiot or he believes Americans are idiots. He’s counting on his sales schmooze to put this through.

People responded on social media to this proposal by freaking about about their avocados and tequila. The impact would be so much bigger than avocados and tequila. Mexico is the biggest importer of fresh produce to the U.S. Tomatoes,melons,lettuce,peppers,pineapple,coconut, sugar,cukes,grapes, COCOA. 70% of vegetables and 40% of fruit imports come from Mexico.  This tax obviously will increase the cost of produce at a time when accessibility to produce for low income people, especially in food deserts, is already a crucial issue in food justice.

And let’s not forget Mexican Coke.

With Trump’s new immigration policies and wall building, we will already see the price of produce increase anyway, 20% tax or not. The workers who grow our food domestically are from Mexico and other countries, usually paid less than American workers. The price of food will reflect the loss of underpaid labor .( As always, I advocate for migrant food workers to be paid fairly and our food system is reliant on these workers. I’m just stating that the system as it is currently will bring this about).

The hypothetical boycotts that could take place could be interesting. If those who don’t want the wall and buycott Mexican produce, they’ll have to be satisfied with limited produce options in winter or grow and preserve their own food. Or actively participate in the growth of these industries domestically. I already have seen some on the conservative side want to buycott Mexican goods anyway just on the premise alone that “Mexico is bad” per Trump’s commentary.  Both ways, the Mexican economy suffers and that wall isn’t getting paid for by anyone but American taxpayers.


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SNAP News: Beginning Summer 2017, you can use food stamps to buy groceries online (in 7 states,anyway)

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The USDA is launching a pilot program this summer to test out the feasibility of allowing online grocers to accept SNAP. The intention is to help serve the needs of low income people in areas deemed food deserts, both rural and urban, as well as those who  have transportation and mobility barriers.

This may prove to be a crucial service for some people affected by the new USDA requirements that convenience stores and other vendors offer a wider variety of foods in order to qualify to accept food stamps and have been left with a larger gap in their accessibility to grocery stores. So far the program will be limited to just seven states to begin with – New York, Maryland, New Jersey,  Pennsylvania, Washington, Iowa, and Oregon, and only a few vendors have been selected. Amazon, FreshDirect, Safeway, ShopRite, Hy-Vee, Inc.,Hart’s Local Grocers , and Dash’s Market, the grocer behind the Rosie app.

This new pilot program could be a huge step forward to bridging that “healthy food” accessibility gap for low income people. The push for this began last summer with Thrive Markets (not chosen vendor) and Russel Simmons being among the biggest advocates.

Also in (trivial) SNAP news, a Republican guy who wants to be a politician in Oregon was on food stamps after his first Senate run, after spending $15,000 of his own money. Mike Callahan was unemployed and had joint custody of his two daughters. He qualified for food stamps and received them.
Ok?
He wasn’t earning enough money. He and his kids had to eat. That’s what the program is for. The gross thing here is that he fully admits that yep, he got food stamps but “it was a meager amount in comparison to others”. He’s better than everyone else who ever needed help. And sure, he basically squandered $15,000 that he could have used to support his family but so? He was trying to make something of himself!
(you know, not like the struggling Americans who get assistance who are thousands of dollars in debt because they spent money they didn’t really have on their own education who are now working in low wage jobs instead of what they have a degree in)

I’m not mad about the food stamps. I’m mad at the hypocrisy. Don’t tell me you want to represent “The People” if you think there’s a distinction between certain kinds of people.


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daily links: affordable veganism and other foodish things

The Economics of Veganism (+ Proof A Fine Vegan Meal Can Be Made Cheaply) – I promise even if you’re a skeptic of veganism ,you won’t hate this piece. Gena Hamshaw gives plenty of recognition to the high cost of produce and lack of accessibility for some while also showing some good idea of how it can be affordable. Gods love her for stating some of the flaws in SNAP challenges,too

In some of our leaner times, we’ve become what I termed “accidental vegans” and as a general rule we eat a lot of vegetarian meals because plant based proteins are so much more affordable. I feel like the disadvantage many might have making veganism work on a low budget is that time is a huge factor in preparation, and it does require a bit of food and cooking knowledge beyond the basic.


Fall Chili, Soups & Stew Recipes and Learn How to Make a Freezer to Slow Cooker Meal ~ Weekly Round-Up – 31 days of soups and stews. I say it all the time…soups and stews are some of the most inexpensive meals you can make and you can stretch a pot through the week . My other tips is to substitute beans if a recipe calls for meat you can’t afford.


21 Budget-Friendly Recipes Starring Rice — Recipes from The Kitchn – essential reading for me this week. Oh,boy.


33 Bowl Recipes to Keep Your Belly Full and Life Easy – I made one of these recently for myself to eat during the week for lunches. Really ideal if it’s just you or you and your partner and maybe one or 2 non-picky kids that can deal with their food not touching .


The Middle-Eastern Cookie That Caused a Panic in Pennsylvania– I’m glad the recipe is included in this article because I immediately knew I had to have some but didn’t want to create hysteria by having something written in Arabic hanging around my house.Heavens no..



SPICY RED CURRY CAULIFLOWER “WINGS”

I have an enormous bag of chickpea flour to use up, so I’ve been making things like this (basically pakora) . I might make this one this week but commit some pantry anarchy by using a buffalo wing sauce my local produce guy gave me as a free samples.