Four things you can do this elections season to stir up the food debate
1. Stand up for healthy food
Food policy and politics haven’t garnered much attention on the campaign trail, despite their real-time significance in our lives. An interview with a U.S. Department of Agriculture official illustrates our government’s general apathy. When a reporter commented that the off-season supermarket “tomatoes” she’d tried had no taste and (other than shape) bore no relationship to the luscious tomatoes she’d grown up with, the official casually dismissed this concern: “Your children will never know the difference.”*
Tell Washington officials that tomatoes are supposed to be delicious and a healthy food system is necessary to meet the urgent challenges of our time at www.fooddeclaration.org.
*Excerpt from Swim against the Current: Even a Dead Fish Can Go with the Flow by Jim Hightower and Susan DeMarco
2. Vote with your fork
November 4th isn’t the only day for civic action! Every time we purchase food or sit down to a meal, we give financial backing to whomever or whatever produced our food—and whether or not we register the impact we are making, our choices act like votes. Every day and every meal we can put our support behind healthier rural economies, greater biodiversity, and long-lasting environmental health.
3. Tell the next eater-in-chief how to use his bully pulpit
Roger Doiron is neither Republican nor Democrat; he’s a Locavore. Doiron’s organization, Kitchen Gardeners International, has started a campaign to encourage the next president to plant an organic kitchen garden on the White House lawn—just like John Adams, Woodrow Wilson, and Franklin Roosevelt before him.
Join the sprouting campaign to get our next leader to model a bit of homeland food security by signing the petition at www.eattheview.org.
4. Campaign for changes in the school lunchroom
Back in 1917, our federal government sponsored a national program called the U.S. School Garden Army. Pint-sized school children across the country did their part, planting gardens for Uncle Sam. The program was run by the federal Bureau of Education, with funding from the War Department.
Then, in 1946, Uncle Sam got involved in the larger issue of school food with the passage of the National School Lunch Act, when it was determined that too many potential military recruits failed their physical exams due to problems traced back to childhood malnutrition. Now the pendulum has swung in the opposite direction and today’s public health issue is one of overconsumption. Ronald McDonald kicked Uncle Sam out of the cafeteria in the late 1980s and community groups across America are only now giving Ronald his marching orders.
Support school food change this school year by learning more at www.ecotrust.org/farmtoschool.