WASHINGTON – Every five years, the government passes an almost-trillion-dollar piece of legislation that profoundly impacts food and farm policy. For decades, big agribusiness has dominated the process, with its interests taking precedence over public health and the environment.
Today, to reclaim the debate, the Environmental Working Group and Food Policy Action Education Fund are launching the Plate of the Union campaign. It aims to awaken a new audience of American consumers to become activists for policies that make food safer, make healthy food more accessible and make food production better for our environment.
The new initiative will deploy grassroots and online tools and tactics to raise awareness about farm and food policies, and show why now – more than ever – consumers must rise up and demand their right to healthy food.
“The decisions made in Washington shape how we grow our food, what we eat and who has to go to bed hungry,” said Ken Cook, president of EWG and board chair of Food Policy Action. “But if consumers don’t rise up and demand change, big agribusiness – not us eaters – will continue to make the rules.”
“How our food is produced directly impacts our diets, our health and our environment. That should be cause for concern – and engagement – from every American,” he said.
Tom Colicchio, Food Policy Action Education Fund co-founder, food advocate and chef said food policy affects every issue facing our country – from national security to health, the economy, climate and more.
“Everyone eats, and everyone should have a say in what they eat and where it comes from,” said Colicchio. “But for too long, our voices have been drowned out by profit-focused agribusiness. We plan to change that. Congress should be on notice: From now on, when it comes to food policy, eaters will have a central seat at the main table.”
The Plate of the Union campaign will focus on four main imperatives:
This year, Congress will start the debate over a new federal farm bill, which will set the nation’s agriculture policy for five years. That means we have one year to activate consumers and make our voices heard, as President Trump will likely sign the law in 2018.
To build support for changes in our food policy that reflect the values of consumers instead of big agribusiness, it is important that our elected leaders hear from us early and often. Plate of the Union is here to help.
About EWG: The Environmental Working Group’s mission is to empower people to live healthier lives in a healthier environment. With breakthrough research and education, we drive consumer choice and civic action. We are a nonprofit, nonpartisan organization dedicated to protecting human health and the environment. You can learn more about our work by visiting our website, EWG.org.
About Food Policy Action Education Fund: Food Policy Action Education Fund is a 501(c)(3) organization that is a separate sister organization of Food Policy Action. The mission of FPA-EF is to provide a platform for public education and engagement on the impacts of federal policy on the food system.
History of Plate of the Union
The Plate of the Union 2016 campaign was created as a collaboration between the Union of Concerned Scientists, the HEAL Food Alliance and FPA-EF, and called on the next president to commit to taking bold action to reform our out-of-balance food system. Throughout the 2016 presidential election season, the partner organizations worked together to execute a unique public education campaign around the presidential election. Harnessing their respective strengths, they elevated the national conversation on food and agriculture policy to ensure that all Americans have access to healthy, affordable food – regardless of their zip code – that is fair to workers, keeps farmers on the land and protects our environment.