We’ve been treading water in a pool of political juices for awhile, so I apologize for stirring the legislative pot, but food policy has become a political topic. From the Farm Bill to California’s proposition 37, politicians have to take a stand on food, farming, and the environment. That means that we, as voters and supporters of real, local, organic, sustainable, accessible, fair trade, humane, disease-free food, can support our real food system in ways we couldn’t before — with our votes.
And now we have a tool to help us decide which levers to pull. A new organization, Food Policy Action (FPA), seeks to keep us in-the-know on how well our national government representatives support (or fail to support) important food policy decisions. FPA’s web site states:
Our mission is to highlight the importance of food policy and to promote policies that support healthy diets, reduce hunger at home and abroad, improve food access and affordability, uphold the rights and dignity of food and farm workers, increase transparency, improve public health, reduce the risk of food-borne illness, support local and regional food systems, treat farm animals humanely and reduce the environmental impact of farming and food production.
The FPA has created an illuminating tool — the National Food Policy Scorecard. FPA’s employees have evaluated how our Senators and Representatives voted on important food legislation over the past year and mapped those votes to the outcomes that benefit food consumers the most. The result is a score between one and 100 that indicates the politician’s food-friendliness on the House or Senate floor. Search by politician, state, or zip code to learn more about your reps: Where do they stand on important food policy decisions? How did they vote on impactful amendments? Why should we support them if we care about real food?
The Food Policy Scorecard aims to include votes on a wide variety of real food issues including “domestic and international hunger, food safety, food access, farm subsidies, animal welfare, food and farm labor, nutrition, food additives, food transparency, local food, organic food and the impacts of food production on the environment.” The group’s web site also highlights upcoming food-related legislation, so you have the opportunity to be well-informed and voice your opinion in the hopes of influencing your legislators and neighbors.
Hunters have looked to the National Rifle Association to understand how gun-friendly their candidates are for a long time. Now real food advocates have the beginnings of a similar support tool. Senators and Representatives — what was hidden before is now harder to hide. We are the ones that benefit, but only if we learn from the tools at hand. What can you do?
- Follow the FPA blog to stay current on food policy legislation
- Find out how your national politicians score based on their food policy votes
- Take a look at upcoming legislation and see how you can influence your politicians
Image Credit: jenlight via Flickr/CC