Q&A with Chef Eric Ripert discussion

Fighting Hunger at City Harvest

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message 1: by Natalie (new)

Natalie Lin (natalielin) | 4 comments Let's extend the conversation about Eric's initiative at Le Bernardin to support City Harvest, a New York City food shelter! Please use this thread to ask Eric questions about City Harvest and the fight against hunger.

JoAnn/QuAppelle I loved the episode of AVEC ERIC that was about City Harvest. I had no idea. Good for all the restaurants that participate in this effort!!!

message 3: by Debbie (new)

Debbie Ellis (vntgdncr) | 6 comments I am open to any ideas regarding having our government provide more support to the small farmer. My parents own 65 acres of farmland in Georgia and the farmer's do not make enough profit for them to pay the taxes on the land. I also believe that many of the health disorders that are more prevelant today are due to the chemicals in our food. We can learn much from the French about this as they buy mostly from the small farmers which means not eating produce out of season (it supports the smaller farmer, offers more diversity throughout the year, and the produce has so much more flavor). If Eric and others of influence, can get more restaurants to buy from the small farms, that is a huge step towards that support.

message 4: by Garri (new)

Garri (garrig) | 7 comments Jose Andres appears to be doing some interesting work in this direction. I understand he believes that the system of agro subsidies in US works against small farms. I'm not sure whether he is against subsidies altogether, or he thinks they are needed if done differently. In my opinion, usually, there is more harm than good from most government subsidies.
Also, it appears that lately (i.e., in the last 10-15 years) there have been a significant increase in demand for all things local and organic, which is great. And, by the way, it's happened without (or, by Jose Andres, in spite of) the government intervention.

message 5: by Debbie (new)

Debbie Ellis (vntgdncr) | 6 comments I haven't heard of Jose Andres but will research him on the web. Are there negative dilemas regarding subsidies other than perhaps higher taxes on the middle class? I feel the small farmer needs as much help as possible. I'm open to the pros and cons on this subject.

message 6: by Garri (new)

Garri (garrig) | 7 comments Jose Andres is a Spanish celebrity chef working in US. Most of his restaurants (e.g., Jaleo) are in DC. I follow him on twitter. Obviously, he is not an economist, but as an outstanding chef and businessman, he definitely knows more about the food supply in this country than most our legislators.
The negative thing about any government subsidy is that they distort the market by making certain goods/services artificially more profitable. This, obviously, distorts the capital allocation, i.e., people invest in what promises a higher profit. In essense, giving subsidies means that the government picks the winners in the economic competition. The problem with this is that the government cannot know for sure who is supposed to be a winner. Misallocation of capital results in a situation when some new industry with a high growth potential is starved of capital in this country, so, it moves to another country, and then we are complaining that we are falling behind Country X in a very important industy Z.
I think, there might be situations where a subsidy would produce a positive net effect (i.e., its benefits overweigh the negatives described above). However, their application should be targeted and limited in scope and time.
And, yes, any government inefficiencies result in higher taxes on everybody.
I support small farmers with my dollars, but I don't think that any small business should be supported simply because it's small. Except, of course, it should be protected from the big business trying to raise the cost of doing business for their smaller competitors (e.g., lobbying for complicated regulations, etc.). Also, the big agro business lobbied for all those subsidies that they benefit from much more than a small farmer.

message 7: by Debbie (new)

Debbie Ellis (vntgdncr) | 6 comments Thanks Garri. I am not surprised as it seems that's how it always is that the government picks and chooses, and we are unaware of what merits their choices. I had heard that a farmer must have quite a few acres to even be considered for the subsidy. I'm sure the line has to be drawn somewhere and that it may be difficult to determine where that line is. I agree that simply being small is not a reason for support.

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