Monday Roundup: Back Home in Indiana

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We thought the video above was interesting. It’s made by a Brooklyn filmmaker (she’s hip, she’s tattooed) who is a self-described locavore. She is also the daughter of a man who, with his brothers, runs a production agriculture farm in Indiana.

Most of this film consists of interviews with her uncle/farmers, who patiently explain why agriculture is the way it is — and how this has led to the depopulation of rural communities. See more here

The filmmaker is thinking of moving back to Indiana.

•Massachusetts doesn’t have enough grocers. In fact, the Commonwealth ranks third from the bottom nationally in having stores with fresh food, the Massachusetts Public Health Association reports today. 

“The report found — as many residents who have to take two or three buses to get groceries already know — that supermarkets are concentrated along major highways and in suburban areas, while urban centers, as well as rural communities in Central and Western Massachusetts, are relatively underserved,” writes Kay Lazar in the Boston Globe. Lawrence, for example, has 70,000 people, but only two grocers.

The report cities a program in Pennsylvania, the Fresh Food Financing Initiative, which helped bring in dozens of markets to poorer communities. http://www.thefoodtrust.org/php/programs/fffi.php The state kicked in $30 million for that project. 

• So just where was Andrew Jackson born? Nobody seems to recall. 

• Daniel Yergin says there should be a “higher degree of confidence” in the U.S. Yergin is an oil and energy specialist.

He told the National Journal that higher oil prices reflect more fear than market reality.  “Oil prices are not signaling a shortage of oil, it’s signaling political risk,” Yergin said. 

• We see repeated stories about cuts coming for rural hospitals. Today, Enrique Rangel in the Lubbock (Texas) Avalanche-Journal reports that rural hospitals in the state’s Panhandle worry about talk of Medicaid cuts. 

Rangel talked to doctors at the Terry County Hospital District in Brownfield. They said cuts in Medicaid will severely hurt them because the percentage of Medicaid patients is increasing, up to 39 percent in 2010 from 27 percent in 2009. “Texas doctors, particularly in rural areas where the poverty rates are higher than the rest of the state, see a large percentage of Medicaid patients, usually people living in poverty or with disabilities,” Rangel writes. 

• The National Hospice and Palliative Care Organization said today that cuts in Medicare reimbursements would be particularly felt in rural areas. 

As a result of recent cuts in Medicare rates, “Hospices caring for Americans in rural areas would be the most severely affected, with median profit margin decreases ranging from minus 2 percent in 2008 to minus 19 percent by 2019,” the organization said. 

• The American Academy of Environmental Medicine recommends that people avoid eating genetically modified foods. http://fooddemocracy.wordpress.com/2009/05/21/doctors-warn-avoid-genetically-modified-food/

• Nice story about a Kentucky farmer who is helping farmers in Afghanistan. Michael Clayton calls himself a “country diplomat.” 

 

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