Hello Michelle Obama: Eaters Must Become More Political -- We Can't Just Vote With Our Forks
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Our voices must begin to compete with the very strong preference elected politicians have for getting reelected – and funding their campaigns. All too often, the money from giant commercial interests is just too delicious to pass up. Over the last decade, top food and agriculture biotechnology firms and trade associations spent over half a billion dollars – $572 million – in campaign contributions and lobbying Congress in support of controversial projects like GE food.
Unfortunately, midsized poultry farmers in Alabama or independent fishermen off the coast of California don’t have the clout or money to compete with these interests, nor can they organize a press conference with Mrs. Obama like Wal-Mart can.
Mrs. Obama’s vision for healthy food is at best fragmented and at worst a failure. She does not address the root causes of our broken food system, where a few powerful players make all of the decisions about what we eat and write the rules for the economic survival of independent producers. It does, however, complement President Obama’s industry bias.
Working with agribusiness and global retailers is politically expedient, but it is not the change eaters can believe in. So eaters, put down your forks, and pick up your pens and phones. Let Washington know that they have a clear mandate to fix our broken food system.
Wenonah Hauter is the executive director of Food & Water Watch.