How this foodie is voting
The issue I care most about is food and it is my primary focus in every election. When I say I am a foodie it means more than my love of good food. Though I enjoy good restaurants and seek out quality ingredients my self-given label of foodie has been expanded thanks to Mark Bittman. For me it is a complex label that deals with all the issues related to food, including access to nutritious food, growing and farming of food, labeling of food, nutrition, climate change and scientific advances with food.
As in years past the candidates aren’t really choosing to talk about food this year. You can blame us for not making it a big deal or the media for not asking the questions, but none of that changes the lack of conversation. If you care about this issue you have to dig deep to get their stands on issues surrounding food. I have too many other reasons to not vote for the republican candidates so I only spent my time finding out about Clinton and Sanders.
Sanders and Clinton on farming
Bernie passes her up on this issue in this small but important section of his plan.
“FAMILY FARMS INSTEAD OF FACTORY FARMS
Senator Sanders believes that we need more family farms, not more factory farms.
It is unacceptable that just four corporations control 82% of the nation’s beef cattle market, 85% of soybean processing, and 63% of pork processing. It is unacceptable that there are over 300,000 fewer farmers than there were 20 years ago.
It is unacceptable that the top 10% of farms collect 75% of farm subsidies, while the bottom 62% do not receive any subsidies. We have to adopt policies that will turn this around.”SUPPORTING AGRICULTURE
In 1966, farmers received 40 cents for every dollar Americans spent on food. Today, they only receive 16 cents on the dollar.
As President, Senator Sanders will reverse this trend by:
Fighting for America’s small and mid-sized farms. Abraham Lincoln called the United States Department of Agriculture the “People’s Department” and Senator Sanders will ensure that the agency lives up to this name by expanding its services for new and underserved farmers.
Encouraging the growth of regional food systems. Farmers throughout the country are boosting their bottom line and reinvigorating their communities by selling directly to local consumers, institutions, and restaurants. Senator Sanders will invest in this movement, helping Americans support local farms.
Reversing trade policies like NAFTA that have flooded the American market with agricultural goods produced in countries with less stringent environmental, labor, and safety regulations.
Enforcing our country’s antitrust laws against large agribusiness and food corporations. A few large companies dominate many agricultural industries, allowing them to force unfair prices on farmers. Senator Sanders will stand up to these corporations and fight to ensure that farmers receive fair prices.
Sanders and Clinton on GMOs
Even though the majority of the American public, as high as 95% in some polls, believe GMO foods should be labeled I can’t find anything on either canidates site about their stance on GMOs. Which sent me searching the internet. Here is what I found.
Bernie supports the state's right to decided if foods should be labeled for GMOs though he doesn’t believe GMOs are necessarily bad. He explains this further in an interview blaming Monsanto and other companies for blocking his legislation in 2013. He basically says we just don’t know enough about GMOs and the consumer has a right to make the choice to eat them. He is the senator from one of the states trying to pass a law like this. If the lawsuit is handled the Vermont law goes into effect this summer.
Hilary can be found on video saying “‘Genetically modified’ sounds Frankensteinish. ‘Drought resistance’ sounds really — something you want. So how do you create a different vocabulary to talk about what it is you’re trying to help people do,” Which implies they aren’t bad, but where does she stand on labeling? She is in favor of voluntary labeling and a lot more research. Nothing is currently holding companies back from voluntarily labeling their products that have GMOs, but the portion of companies that take this step is small.
A little insight on why companies don’t voluntarily label. If you label something that isn’t currently mandated by the government and then the government decides to pass a law for or against GMO labeling that puts your products in violation it is a large expense to redesign and print new packaging. So many companies choose to only label based on government requirements.
Only reason I need to pick Bernie
There are other issues surrounding food like welfare reform, climate change and many others. But the two above play a huge role in the price, accessibility and the quality of food that is offered in this country. The common thread, and the biggest issue, standing in the way of progress for our food system is the big companies. Companies that are loaded with millionaires and billionaires. Companies that have one mission, to line their pockets with as much money as possible.
You can say Bernie is running a single issue campaign and that is okay with me. Because that single issue of income inequality is creating the majority of the problems in this country.
Without an overhaul of campaign finance reform, the big business will keep having legislators in their pockets. Legislators that will keep squashing bills the American public wants. The income inequality will always be a problem because legislators won’t pass bills that aren’t beneficial to the big businesses.
This is why I only need to know and believe in Bernie’s stands on income inequality and campaign finance reform. Fighting for those will open the door to more solutions. If the money doesn’t get out politics then the elected officials will never vote for the public's interests and never try new ways to solve ongoing problems. The elected will continue to vote for the interests of the highest bidder unless we change the rules, and vote the corrupt people out of office. This, of courses, also hinges on us, the voters, going to the polls and voting, but that is a much longer article for another day.
Do you care about the food that ends up on your table, the tables of everyone else, how that food got there, and if the farmer has a fair shot to make a living wage?
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