The Politics of Food

As a food ecology activist, I found this statement from the Food Revolution Network in keeping with my beliefs and I am sure many of you may also embrace these ideas. ( Don’t forget to vote!

Natural Health and Wellness Leaders’ Collective Statement Regarding the US Election:

Vote for a healthy life and a healthy world!

We are in the midst of one of the most severe health crises in human history — and not just because of the current global pandemic. Before anyone had heard of COVID-19, rates of obesity, diabetes, dementia, and many other diseases were skyrocketing. We were already facing a devastating health crisis that was killing more than half a million Americans every single year.[1] And now, in the time of COVID-19, those suffering from these conditions are faring the worst.

We didn’t get this sick by chance. Government policies, built by leadership from both parties over the course of decades, have fueled our health crisis.

Industry lobbyists have captured elected officials on both sides of the aisle, blocking public access to safe and nutritious food, preventive health care, and a healthy environment. Far too much power and control have been placed in the hands of the agro-chemical industry, drug companies, and corporate food lobbyists — ahead of the health and well-being of people, communities, and our planet.

One of the most important votes of all is the one we cast three times every day — with our knives and forks. Our diet and lifestyle choices profoundly impact the course of our health destiny and the health of our country and planet. But just as important are the choices we make to elect our leaders — and how we hold them accountable to advance policies that benefit our health and the planet once they come into office.

Regardless of who is in office, however, we will continue to fight for food and nutrition policies that focus on preventing hunger, promoting health, and protecting the environment — rather than on protecting the profits of huge industries. These include policies that:

  • Support regenerative and organic agricultural practices that sequester carbon and produce nutrient-rich food from healthy soils.
  • Subsidize small farms, organic farmers, CSAs, farmers markets, and growers of fruits, vegetables, and other health-promoting foods — while ending subsidies for junk food and factory-farmed meat.
  • Improve school nutrition programs, so they provide healthier foods to more children.
  • Fight racism and improve health equity by preventing alcohol and junk food companies from targeting low-income people, minority groups, and children.
  • Expand public safety by enacting regulations on pesticides, industrial toxins, the routine use of antibiotics in industrial meat production, and the pollution generated by factory farms.
  • Provide worker protections for farm laborers, meatpacking workers, restaurant workers, and other high-risk essential food workers.
  • Require accurate labeling of GMOs and animal treatment practices on food products.

But let’s be clear: The current administration has consistently shown itself to be intractably opposed to the kinds of policy changes we are calling for. It has:

  • Undermined scientific integrity in the creation of the dietary guidelines for Americans by prohibiting discussion of red and processed meat, sodium, ultra-processed foods, and the impact on our environment. [2] [3]
  • Backslid on efforts to make school lunches healthier, and cut food assistance programs by tens of billions of dollars. [4] [5]
  • Made it easier than ever for the food industry to hide the presence of GMOs in our food. [6] [7]
  • Approved more than 100 pesticides that are banned in other countries. [8]
  • Repeatedly refused to acknowledge the overwhelming science-backed evidence that climate change poses a serious and urgent threat to our future. [9] [10]
  • Curtailed animal welfare protections and regulations intended to protect consumers and the environment from the hazards of factory farms and meat processing plants. [11] [12] [13] [14]
  • Weakened protections for food and farm workers, causing harm to Latinx, Black, and Indigenous communities, especially during the COVID-19 pandemic. [15] [16]

The current administration was elected on promises to “drain the swamp” and fight for the people. But in reality, it has further perpetuated and deepened the very policies that sell out public health for the exorbitant profits of junk food, factory farming, pharmaceutical, and pesticide industries.

We are keenly aware that merely electing a different leadership won’t guarantee that we’ll accomplish our goals or solve our problems. It’s going to take concerted and sustained action from millions of people — combined with constructive political leadership.

And this election may be the most important in human history.

No matter what your background, age, income level, or partisan beliefs, please don’t sit out this election. Your voice matters. And so does your vote.

The above is a joint statement written in collaboration with leaders in the wellness community. Please share widely and freely if it speaks to you.

Partial list of signers (in alphabetical order) include:

Mark Bittman, Food Journalist
Zach Bush, MD, Founder, Farmers Footprint
Yami Cazorla-Lancaster, DO, MPH, Founder, Nourish Wellness
Seane Corn, Yoga Teacher and author, Revolution of the Soul
Ryan Eliason, Founder, Social Entrepreneur Empowerment Network
Rip Esselstyn, Founder, Plant-Strong by Engine 2, author of The Engine 2 Diet
Joel Fuhrman, MD, President, Nutritional Research Foundation
Kristi Funk, MD, Co-Founder & Medical Director, Pink Lotus Breast Center
Mimi Guarneri, MD, President, Academy of Integrative Health and Medicine
Thom Hartmann, Top 10 syndicated radio host, bestselling author
David Katz, MD, MPH, President, True Health Initiative
Dr. Eiline Kingsley, Founder, Sustainable Research Institute
Michael Klaper, MD, Founder, Moving Medicine Forward
Ashley Koff RD, CEO and Founder of the Better Nutrition Program
Anna Lappé, author of Diet for a Hot Planet
Dave Murphy, founder, Food Democracy Now!
John Robbins, Author, Diet for a New America, President, Food Revolution Network
Ocean Robbins, CEO, Food Revolution Network
Leah Segedie, Author of Green Enough and founder of Mamavation
Ayesha Sherzai, MD, Co-director, Alzheimer’s Prevention Program at Loma Linda University
Dean Sherzai, MD, PhD, Co-director, Alzheimer’s Prevention Program at Loma Linda University
Alicia Silverstone, Actress & Author of The Kind Diet
Erica Sonnenburg, PhD and Justin Sonnenburg, PhD, Authors, The Good Gut
Kelly Turner, PhD, author, Radical Remission
Heather White, CEO of Heather White Strategies and Former Executive Director of EWG
Marianne Williamson, Bestselling Author of Return To Love and A Politics of Love

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