The American food system is broken. The majority of American voters believe that too many citizens can’t afford healthy foods in their communities. Across parties, 75 percent favor incentives for sustainable farming practices, and 81 percent are concerned with food industry backing of Congress members, according to new research by Lake Research Partners. Yet food and agriculture have not been a substantial part of Presidential debates or candidates’ platforms.
But Plate of the Union, a joint call for action on food and farms by the Union of Concerned Scientists, Food Policy Action, Food Policy Action Education Fund, and the HEAL Food Alliance, is working to make sure that policymakers focus on food and agriculture. As a coalition, these advocacy organizations are working to mobilize citizens across the nation to demand action from the next President to ensure healthy, affordable, and just food.
“Plate of the Union is the first coordinated campaign effort to get candidates running for President talking about our broken food system,” says Tom Colicchio, co-founder of Food Policy Action. “The truth is, our current food system is out of balance. It prioritizes corporate profits at the expense of our health, the environment and working families. The next President needs to take bold steps to reform our food system to ensure all Americans have equal access to healthy, affordable food.”
According to the polls administered by Lake Research Partners, Americans care deeply about the health and wellbeing of children and support policy reforms that improve both the affordability and sustainability of healthy food. The new data was released at the New York Times Food For Tomorrow Conference on October 20, 2015.
“We need to pressure candidates to talk not just about economic growth opportunities within the food system, but strategies to expand both access and affordability in all communities,” writes food author Mark Bittman. “We need to push them to support farmers who want to grow fruits and vegetables, and invest in research to advance sustainable farming practices. We need to hear them acknowledge the links between our food system and the growing environmental crisis perpetuated by unsustainable agricultural practices, and tell us what they plan to do to protect our planet along with our health.”