On “Food Talk with Dani Nierenberg,” Wenonah Hauter, founder and Executive Director of Food & Water Watch talks about the importance of activism in the fight against climate change. “What led me to become involved [in political activism] was my experience growing up… I grew up really understanding what it is to have to deal with a lot of economic problems, and it made me very interested in politics,” says Hauter. “Most of my earlier career was focused on a lot of advocacy, policy, and lobbying type activities. We talked about grassroots, but we didn’t actually have people on the ground. It became very clear, even 20 years ago, that we needed to do that.”
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In 2005, Hauter founded Food & Water Watch to create a grassroots constituency advocating for food, water, energy, and environmental issues. “We don’t see a division between food, water, and climate,” says Hauter. Food & Water Watch’s lobbying counterpart, Food & Water Action, helps mobilize people to create a voice for political power, holding elected officials accountable and supporting the candidates that reflect the needs of the people pressing for change. “The only way we’re going to take back our democracy is by getting people involved in the whole spectrum of being involved in political work,” says Hauter.
Political work, says Hauter, has the potential to restructure the food economy, which has been subject to system-wide consolidation. “Food prices are getting higher at about three times the level of other things… Profit is going to advertisers, the industry, and to wall street. So a lot of the economics that people are suffering from have to do with the consolidation,” says Hauter. I am excited today, however, that we have been able to get some interest in these consolidation issues and there’s been legislation introduced… that will begin to look at these food consolidations.”
“It gives me a lot of hope seeing young people working on issues like these,” says Hauter. “We have to be really visionary. We have to fight for what we want. We really don’t have a choice: this is the only planet we have.”