USDA’s new MyPlate dietary guidelines recommend that fruits and vegetables make up 50 percent of our daily food intake, but how can we meet those standards when we’re not growing enough of either?
Whether you agree or disagree with the whole My Plate concept (I’m not so mad about the emphasis on dairy, for example), one thing is unequivocally true: we don’t grow or eat enough fruits and vegetables to meet the My Plate recommendations. In fact, only about 2 percent of U.S. farm acreage grows the fruits and veggies that USDA says we should be eating the most.
A better Farm Bill — one that supports small farmers growing food instead of industrial farms growing animal feed — could make a big difference. What we need to see is a change in emphasis from growing grains for animal feed to one on growing the fruits and veggies that USDA says we should be eating.
It wouldn’t even take that big a shift in production to meet our nutritional needs, and we could stimulate local economies while we’re at it. Not too shabby, right? Check out this infographic from the Union of Concerned Scientists that looks at how American farmers can grow the fruits and vegetables we need while creating jobs and benefiting local economies.