Starved for Attention: The US Double Standard

Vodpod videos no longer available.

[I’m not sure the video is going to work here on my blog. Grrr! If it doesn’t the link to it is just below.]

Doctors without Borders (Medecins Sans Frontieres) produced this two-part video (both parts are in this video) to show how the US takes care of its own children’s nutrition using the WIC program but sends abroad corn/soy cereal that has almost no nutritional value.

I can’t locate a transcript, though the video does have captioning if you want it.

The description of the video is this:

In a nation that provides half the world’s food assistance, why is substandard food being sent to the poorest corners of earth when the US government has developed an effective program at home to provide quality nutrition to its most vulnerable citizens?

Two photojournalists, Antonin Kratochvil and Jessica Dimmock, strikingly capture the hypocrisy of US food policy in this two-part reportage.

Antonin Kratochvil’s bold landscape images lay bare the (mis)use of land and resources in the American midwest.  The US Government Accountability Office has found that the current system of sending domestically produced blended flour overseas costs as much as 34 percent more than buying food products locally.

Kratochvil maps the food-aid pipelines from the corn fields of Iowa to the ports of Africa, exposing the inefficiency of the current system and its failure to deliver nutritious foods to young children.

Jessica Dimmocks intimate portrait of families benefiting from the US government-funded Women, Infants and Children nutrition program (WIC) reveal the other half of the US food aid story.  WIC supports a quarter of all American children from birth to age four and has been shown to have dramatically reduced anemia and the rate of low birth weight.  The access to nutritious, enriching foods that WIC provides to young American children is a stark contrast to the nutritionally devoid blend of fortified flour dumped on starving children outside the country.

They explain in the video that there are laws that say that most of our food aid has to be grown by farmers in the US.  Something not mentioned, though, is the way that our agriculture subsidies directly affect what products are grown in what capacity.  Here are some links on this topic.

Also, I noticed in the first half of the video, the part talking about WIC, there was one father shown in the four different stories.  It appears that the photojournalists either wanted to highlight mothers or that WIC is about women.  Seeing how the “W” stands for women, I’m going with the latter.


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