Congressman Jay Inslee introduced a bill this week that would provide federal funding for community gardens—public plots of land that can be subdivided for the purpose of growing food or flowers. This might sound odd, but Inslee's actually emulating a long line of politicos who have voiced their support for such projects—notably FDR. Jill Lawson's book City Bountiful chronicles the ways in which Americans have turned to gardens throughout history as a way of combating hardship.
Earlier this week, the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee continued its work on a climate bill by holding a hearing on the potential effects of a carbon cap on agriculture. Democrats stressed the "economic opportunities" for farmers via the carbon offsets under a cap-and-trade system for greenhouse gases. Republicans, meanwhile, complained that any money farmers might make from offsets would do little to defray the higher costs that agribusinesses would face if Congress put a price on carbon.
Earlier today, the House Rules Committee held a hearing on whether farm animals are getting too many antibiotics for their own good. Ever since 1951, the year the FDA approved the addition of penicillin and tetracycline to chicken feed, it's been common for livestock animals to get pumped full of antibiotics to ward off disease and promote growth. The practice may have had a certain logic in the early years.
During a Senate hearing on clean energy earlier this week, Republicans Lamar Alexander and Mike Crapo caused a minor stir by hinting that maybe, just maybe they'd consider the idea of a climate bill with a cap-and-trade program for carbon emissions—as long as the bill had strong support for nuclear energy. What sort of support? Alexander mostly just reiterated the GOP preference for building 100 new nuclear power plants (how that would actually get done was left unclear).