In addition to raising a family and farming, food and farm policy has been part of my work for the better part of the past decade and probably won’t change in the coming decade. It will proceed apace with the 2016 election.
A few weeks ago I was researching on the the food policy platforms of Clinton and Trump campaigns.
The Clinton platform has details and is slanted toward the status quo of chemical/industrial agriculture. In meetings and conversations with food policy colleagues before the election, the talk revolved around steps that we could take in the transition and in the early days of the Clinton presidency to push the agenda for a food system that is better, cleaner, fairer, and more local for everyone. Of course, the results made those conversations moot…on to the Trump food and agriculture platform. His positions on immigrants, women, the disabled and of color and other minorities are known; and they are repugnant.
In the wake of the election results, I wrote this on my Facebook page:
“I’m not a civil rights/immigration lawyer. I don’t work in women’s reproductive healthcare. I’m not a professional in children and family services. I don’t provide care for those with disabilities.
So, I ask myself this morning, what CAN I do?
I AM in the food food and farming business. For the past decade, I’ve worked on local food, animal welfare, environmental, and sustainable farm issues – you know farm stuff.
This morning, I’m recommitting myself to that work as Donald Trump has packed his agriculture advisory team with leaders(rogues gallery) who vehemently oppose my work.
So, I have to work harder, right?
Who’s with me?”
“You know I’m in.”
“I’m in, too.
“I am in!!”
” Whatever I can do,…”
“I AM WITH YOU! (And you know where to find me…)”
“I am open. Totally lost right now but if you have ideas, I will help!”
But, what can WE do?
We’re a month out from the election and I’m still waiting to see who will become the Secretary of Agriculture. Judging by the candidates offered up for DOJ, EPA, Energy, and Education; a candidate that has a history of words and actions diametrically opposed to the goals and purposes USDA is the most likely appointment.
Also, the GOP platform expressly calls for dismantling USDA’s fifty-two year old bulwark against hunger in America, the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP).
“Much of the Democrats’ delay had nothing to do with the vital role of American agriculture. It concerned their efforts to expand welfare through the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), which now comprises more than 70 percent of all farm bill spending. During the last eight years of a Democratic Administration, nearly all the work requirements for able-bodied adults, instituted by our landmark welfare reform of 1996, have been removed. We will restore those provisions and, to correct a mistake made when the Food Stamp program was first created in 1964, separate the administration of SNAP from the Department of Agriculture. ” (https://www.gop.com/platform/americas-natural-resources/)
Since I was a kid, I’ve heard the mantra that “American Farmers Feed the World.” If the GOP platform is realized American farmers may still feed the world, but they may no longer feed their fellow citizens.
Again the question is “But, what can WE do?”
I’ll be posting on that in the next few days!