A National Food Policy for the 21st Century: A memo to the next president
Mark Bittman, Michael Pollan, Ricardo Salvador, Olivier De Schutter
“Thanks to the productivity of our farmers, the United States has led the world in agriculture for generations. But it’s time to recognize that the challenges facing our food system have shifted; we need to do more than produce an abundance of cheap calories. Too many of our children are struggling with obesity and type 2 diabetes, while many adults struggle with chronic preventable diseases linked to diet, costing us more than $500 billion a year. We must commit not just to feeding but to nourishing our citizens, especially our children. We can do this by honoring our great tradition of small family farms, and by building a food system that works with nature while continuing to be productive and profitable. To that end, I’m announcing the creation of a task force reporting directly to me and charged with developing the nation’s first National Food Policy. This policy will be organized around the paramount objective of promoting health — that of our citizens and of the environment — at each link in the food chain, from the farm to the supermarket, to our schools, home tables, and even restaurants. With the development of this policy, we will demonstrate that the American food system can continue to be a model the rest of the world can follow.”
— America’s next president
A scenario for the State of the Union address, January 28, 2017
The current and future well-being of the nation can be significantly improved by creating a National Food Policy (NFP). Such a policy, if properly conceived and implemented, will result in a healthier population, a reduction in hunger, mitigation of (and adaptation to) climate change, decreases in energy consumption, improved environmental conservation, rural and inner city economic development, a reduction in socioeconomic inequality, a safer and more secure food system, and savings to the federal budget, especially in spending on health care.
How could a single innovation such as the NFP possibly deliver on such a broad spectrum of our major contemporary challenges? Because these various issues are currently addressed through piecemeal and often contradictory approaches, whereas they are interlocking problems that can best be addressed through a unified and coordinated policy focused on their common denominator: the food system.
The very idea of a comprehensive “food system” is new. The next administration has an opportunity to innovate and lead on the major issues of our times, nationally and internationally, by demonstrating its grasp of this reality. Previous administrations have failed to appreciate the linkages between farming, diet, public health, and the environment, with the result that the food system has never been effectively overseen, administered, or regulated. This in turn has resulted in severe market failures that we call by other names: the obesity crisis, runaway hunger, epidemics of chronic disease, the ethanol bubble, surface water contamination and hypoxia, soil degradation, food safety scares and recalls, rural economic decline, inner city food deserts, labor exploitation, rising economic inequality, and the federal fiscal crisis. By attending to the food system, it is possible to connect all these dots and begin to address them in a coordinated and effective way.
The situation we face reflects, in large part, the unintended consequences of the last fundamental shift in agricultural policies, implemented by President Nixon in the early seventies. In an effort to combat a spike in food prices, the Nixon Administration abandoned supply controls and used the policy tools at its disposal to boost farm production by subsidizing, and encouraging, the industrialization and consolidation of commodity agriculture. This “productivist paradigm” — heavily dependent on fossil fuel inputs and a small number of crops grown in monoculture — succeeded in producing an abundance of cheap calories. But this was achieved at a price to the health of the population, the environment and rural economy that is no longer sustainable.
The food system resulting from these policies has created economic and path dependencies that complicate reform, leaving us with a set of institutions and policy vehicles that are incapable of tackling the problems of the food system — problems that go far beyond food and farming. Today, policies are needed that respond to the evolution and actual structure and function of the contemporary food system. A coherent NFP must therefore replace obsolete conceptions, policies, tools, and institutions with new ideas and processes to address current challenges and prevent similar market failures from occurring in the future.
Public support for this bold action will come from uniting traditional constituencies in the labor, social justice, environmental, alternative energy, and public health sectors with those in the food movement. The various constituencies composing food system activism, from field to plate, are acquiring greater public visibility and political power. This is attested by the successful mobilization of groups such as the Coalition of Immokalee Workers¹, the Food Chain Workers Alliance, Restaurant Opportunities Center, Farm to School, FoodCorps, Real Food Challenge, the Partnership for Healthier America, the new emphasis on food and farming among the leading environmental organizations (including the Natural Resources Defense Council, Environmental Defense Fund, Environmental Working Group, and Union of Concerned Scientists), and the broad coalition of organizations that has forced Big Food and Big Ag to spend nearly $100 million since 2012 to resist calls for GMO² labeling. The NFP could be the organizing principle that galvanizes this nascent movement and its emerging political power. A new political constituency is forming around food issues.The old “farm vote” will soon be overtaken by a “good food” vote comprised not only of a new generation of young farmers, but also of the people they feed, a rapidly growing segment of the population who have begun to vote with their dollars — and their actual votes — for a healthier, less exploitative, more humane food system³. Leadership and vision from the president would be commensurate with the stakes, and would provide the administration with an opportunity for landmark executive action and historical legacy.
The United States has been the global leader in creating and establishing a large-scale and productive food system. It therefore falls to the U.S. to continue its leadership role by rectifying the shortfalls of that system, demonstrating how to reshape it for the 21st century so that it meets its reason for being. That reason is to produce a wholesome and healthful food supply for people of all socioeconomic backgrounds, while treating humans and animals fairly and compassionately and nurturing the ecosystems on which we depend.
For the foreseeable future, food system reform initiatives will have trouble surviving in a Congress heavily influenced by agribusiness interests⁴. Thus most of the goals set forth here can be best achieved using existing federal and executive tools, repurposing existing resources and institutions, and enforcing existing laws and regulations. The immediate objective would be to monitor and coordinate the components of the food value chain to better match the desired criteria. The executive has the authority and therefore the opportunity to oversee each link in the food chain:
- Production (labor and environment standards)
- Processing and distribution (antitrust and food safety)
- Retail and institutional delivery (wages and economic inequality)
Healthcare and public health (prevention via public education, medical and healthcare incentives — including appropriate incentives for healthy food — and policies ensuring availability of that food).
Public support for bold executive actions will be necessary, and the mobilization and organization of that support will take money. But there are philanthropies that focus on food, health, and equity issues⁵; their funding, along with support from individual citizens, will follow when they see a clear vision and agenda around food, such as the NFP.
Ideally, our agricultural policies will align with our public health goals, using policies that encourage the system to produce more of the kind of food recommended by leading nutritionists from the government, private sector, and academia⁶,⁷,⁸. Current government policies and incentives reward production of too much of the wrong stuff and encourage production to supply the export market, at great cost to natural resources and public health domestically, and to developing markets and agricultural systems internationally⁹,¹⁰. Policy should push the system to favor quality of diets over quantity of calories. This transformation can be accomplished by coordinating the vast federal machinery to undertake the following steps:
1. Develop a roadmap¹¹ to “re-solarize” the production system. There are many moving parts to this agenda, but this core idea unifies most of them: To the extent that we wean American agriculture from its heavy 20th-century diet of fossil fuel and put it back on one of contemporary sunshine captured through photosynthesis, we can solve several problems at once, including improving the American diet and mitigating climate change. The problem, in a nutshell, is that we grow too much of our food in vast monocultures, which depend on applications of fossil fuel fertilizer, fossil fuel pesticides, and energy-intensive processing and transport. These monocultures produce more calories per farmer, yet they survive only as long as fossil energies are available and cheap, and only because society is willing to let those farmers externalize heavy environmental, health, and socioeconomic costs¹²,¹³. They also lead directly to a fast-food diet based on the building blocks of commodity corn (for cheap sweeteners and meat) and commodity soy (for cheap oil and meat). The more diversified a farm production system is, the more it relies on free contemporary sunlight rather than fossil fuels and fertilizers. A more diversified agriculture would at the same time help diversify the American diet and sequester significant amounts of carbon in the soil. Relocalizing the food system contributes to this objective. This will reduce energy consumption and improve food safety and security, while at the same time improving the quality of calories produced, since the less food is processed for national distribution the fresher and more nutritious it is¹⁴. A long-term policy to resolarize U.S. agriculture by promoting diversification will bring many benefits that can be achieved by:
A. Direct USDA research and extension programs to investigate, develop, promote and support regionally appropriate, regenerative, diversified farming systems. The potential of these agro-ecological systems to produce yields and profits comparable to so-called conventional agriculture, especially in the face of drought and other climate disruptions, is now well established¹⁵.
B. Support and reorient the Land Grant University system so that it serves local and regional constituencies and their needs¹⁶. Reduced public funding has made these institutions increasingly reliant on industry, thus turning public investment into private profit¹⁷,¹⁸. Recently, the President’s Council of Advisors on Science and Technology (PCAST) proposed dealing with this quandary through “rebalancing the U. S. Department of Agriculture’s research portfolio” and creating “innovation institutes” funded through public/private partnerships¹⁹. PCAST recommended this strategy to overcome “congressional constraints” in funding, and the capture of the land grant system by private sector interests, which raises the question: Why should a public system created to serve the public interest be co-opted in this way?
C. Launch a “Farmer Corps” to educate a new generation of “sun farmers” and help put them on the land. The federal government should reverse historical course and embrace the goal of increasing the number of farmers, as part of its push for full employment. No young generation of farmers will emerge under the present conditions; while the average U.S. farmer was 50 years old in 1982, he or she was 58 in 2012²⁰.
2. Encourage and promote the reintegration of animals on farms by ending federal subsidies and regulatory indulgence for confined animal feed operations (CAFOs). These operations must be recognized and regulated as the factories that they are, with the same standards, regulations, and penalties applied to other industries emitting noxious products. This can be done by enforcing existing environmental laws²¹, and by requiring waste treatment (and a halt to using EQIP²² funds to subsidize this negative externality.) Essayist Wendell Berry, honored recently by President Obama with the National Humanities Medal²³, has best expressed the logic of this measure: “Once plants and animals were raised together on the same farm — which therefore neither produced unmanageable surpluses of manure, to be wasted and to pollute the water supply, nor depended on such quantities of commercial fertilizer. The genius of America farm experts is very well demonstrated here: they can take a solution and divide it neatly into two problems²⁴.”
3. Eliminate the routine non-medicinal use of antibiotics in animal agriculture. Relevant authority lies with the Food and Drug Administration. The science supports the imperative of this measure to preserve the effectiveness of antibiotics for human medicine and to slow the spread of the “superbugs” responsible for MRSA²⁵ and other antibiotic-resistant infections. European Union experience demonstrates that this is feasible without a productivity tradeoff. (Furthermore, fewer CAFOs will mean fewer antibiotics in animal production, and vice versa.)²⁶ The FDA should immediately announce that it will move to regulate animal antibiotics; it’s already clear that its voluntary guidelines have had no appreciable effect²⁷.
4. Support the Environmental Protection Agency in its recent rethinking²⁸ of the Renewable Fuel Standard²⁹ (the “ethanol mandate”). The mandate originally intended to support transition to sustainable cellulosic biofuels. Yet, since its implementation a decade ago, this federal subsidy to corn producers has only entrenched the dominance of corn in the Midwest. Layered over crop insurance and other direct and hidden subsidies, the Renewable Fuel Standard has generated biofuel so soaked with fossil fuel inputs that its modest energy benefits scarcely begin to cover the environmental and social harm caused by intensive corn monocultures: consolidation and increase of farm size, displacement of farmers via creation of barriers for entry into farming, and making farmland too expensive to use for actual food, further linking the food and energy markets, so that the volatility of the price of oil creates havoc in agricultural commodities’ markets. If biofuels are to be supported at all, such support should be reserved for sustainable cellulosic biofuels, particularly those made from perennial grasses that reduce fossil fuel dependence while playing a complementary role in diverse, modern multifunctional agricultural systems³⁰.
5. Promote greater production of actual food, especially seasonal fruits and vegetables for regional markets, by providing equitable access to farm credit and loan guarantees for all farmers, particularly for young, beginning, and organic farmers who have historically encountered barriers to access to government programs. Such measures would create at minimum 189,000 new jobs in local food systems and $9.5 billion in new revenue for healthy foods³¹.
6. Take a firm stance to reform agricultural subsidies in the next Farm Bill, and ensure that public investment supports beginning farmers and those who produce actual food using sustainable practices³². Current policy perversely rewards farmers who have not practiced conservation agriculture, as opposed to those who have; and it overwhelmingly supports large-scale monocultures, the exact opposite from what we need to promote³³,³⁴.
7. The president should work with Congress and all relevant agencies to fully fund and implement programs that encourage diversified farming, rewarding food production and diversification rather than monocultures of industrial and export crops; ecological services (including carbon sequestration) rather than overproduction; and quality rather than quantity of production³⁵.
8. To close nutrient cycles at scale, make municipal and institutional composting of food and yard waste mandatory, and give the compost to farmers and ranchers.
9. Ensure that wages for farm labor are fair and sufficient to permit workers who harvest, process, prepare, and serve our food to have access to the food they have helped to produce and deliver.
10. Generally, preserve and enhance the social safety net, so that fairer wages and benefits for workers in all economic sectors increase wealth and economic stability among the most vulnerable. This will reduce hunger in the world’s largest economy, where currently 49 million citizens (one in six) are food insecure³⁶, and should be a prominent part of any president’s commitment to battling economic inequality³⁷.
- Enforce anti-trust laws currently on the books to restore competition to food markets at every level: seeds, grain trading, animal feeding, meatpacking, and supermarkets³⁸. This problem is so well known that in 2010 the Antitrust Division of the Department of Justice, together with the USDA, held five joint public workshops on how concentration in the food industry was hurting both suppliers and consumers. However, apart from a report, nothing came out of these hearings. The middle of the chain (processing and marketing), it seems, still holds a veto power on any reform of the food chain that would tackle the issue of bargaining power — with the two ends negatively affected (farming and eating)³⁹.
- Establish a federal grain reserve, modeled on the Strategic Petroleum Reserve, to cushion destructive swings in commodity prices⁴⁰. Price volatility in agricultural markets has been increasing significantly in recent years, in part as a result of financial speculation (the excessive weight of derivatives in shaping prices on the spot markets), and in part because of the merger between the food and the energy markets: Because small-size production units are the least able to cope with these price swings, this is one more threat to the survival of small farms and the local markets on which they sell their produce.
- Provide grants to towns and cities to build year-round, indoor/outdoor farmers markets, especially in underserved urban neighborhoods, under an enhanced Farmers Market Promotion Program⁴¹. These will draw farmers and real food into cities, revitalize rural, and urban economies (restaurants and others businesses sprout up around farmer’s markets) and would become one of the signature public-works legacies of any presidential administration.
- Coupled with prescriptions and programs administered by hospitals seeking to comply with the Affordable Care Act’s mandate to prioritize preventive treatments⁴², distribute farmer’s market vouchers for healthy fruits, vegetables, and lean meat to Women, Infants and Children (W.I.C.⁴³), and Food Stamp (SNAP⁴⁴) recipients. This will improve access to healthful food and the diet of recipients while driving growth in the regional farm economy⁴⁵. The disconnection between food and health is a critical dysfunction targeted by the Affordable Care Act, and one that has been pointedly described by Wendell Berry: “People are fed by the Food Industry, which pays no attention to health, and healed by the Health Industry, which pays no attention to food⁴⁶.”
- Increase the SNAP program’s objectives and effectiveness by reforming the system so that its subsidies are directed toward the purchase and consumption of healthy foods, in harmony with recommendations from leading health authorities (cf., footnote 6), thereby protecting against both hunger and obesity⁴⁷.
- Direct the USDA to support regional slaughterhouses and meat processing facilities. Establish a local meat inspection corps to nurture burgeoning local meat production. The dominant position of the “big four” meatpackers (Tyson, Cargill, JBS and National Beef), who together corner two thirds of the markets⁴⁸, can only be addressed by decentralizing processing facilities. This will also strengthen the bargaining position of hog, cattle, and poultry farmers.
- Enforce worker safety rules already on the books throughout the food system. Give the Occupational Safety and Health Administration the resources it needs to protect food workers, from field to factory.
- Mandate that federal food procurement (in the military, national parks, schools, prisons, etc.) prioritize the purchase of food from regional producers. Pattern on the successful work of the National Farm to School Network⁴⁹ and School Food Focus⁵⁰, organizations that have created working business models to connect regional supply with institutional demand for healthful food.
- Create a federal definition of good food, based on health and nutrition, and apply it to all federal nutrition programs. Encourage states to adopt it for sales tax purposes⁵¹. What Mexico has done with some success⁵² — raising value added taxes on sugary soda drinks to discourage consumption — can be achieved on an even larger scale in the U.S.
The Food Culture:
In many ways, the Obama family has set an example that the next presidency could expand on. It did so by establishing the first producing kitchen garden on White House grounds since the FDR Administration, by modeling healthful eating, and by patronizing and promoting local farmers markets. It established programs such as Let’s Move⁵³ and the Partnership for a Healthier America⁵⁴. It promoted reforms in key social welfare programs such as the Child Nutrition Act⁵⁵, it set up the Childhood Obesity Task Force⁵⁶ and it challenged the Grocery Manufacturers Association to produce and advertise healthful foods in pursuit of their own economic interests⁵⁷. It reformed the healthcare system along preventive principles through the Affordable Care Act. This platform provides a strong basis for the next president to build on the Obama Administration’s demonstration of the importance of food, health, equity, and sustainability. This can be accomplished through measures such as the following:
- President Kennedy made physical education an accepted part of the school curriculum; the next president should do the same for “edible education.” Build gardens in schools, patterned after the White House garden and programs such as Edible Schoolyard, which can be used to infuse food and health throughout the curriculum. Introduce cooking lessons in schools, including cooking of vegetarian dishes, and explicitly targeted to both boys and girls. Boost the Child Nutrition Act so that school lunch spending increases by $1 a day per pupil to underwrite healthy, sustainably grown food, a sizable portion of which should be purchased locally (a model successfully implemented by the Province of Ontario in 2013⁵⁸). Rebuild cafeterias, many of which are equipped only to microwave processed food, by funding programs to upgrade kitchens and dining areas⁵⁹. Increase funding for USDA competitive grants targeted to build Farm to Cafeteria value chains⁶⁰; raise the eligibility threshold for free and reduced school meals to 200 percent of the poverty rate⁶¹.
- Support expansion of the successful FoodCorps program⁶², established by an AmeriCorps grant and matching philanthropic funding, to place college graduates in schools to support teachers’ efforts to include food in curricula and promoting health through programs such as school gardens and healthier cafeteria choices. Forgive federal student loans in exchange for two years of service in the program, and provide a path to formal institutionalization of the program in schools and within the Department of Agriculture.
- Support the burgeoning market for health, fairness, and sustainability through food by providing maximum transparency in food labeling. Make it simple to determine that food is healthful, fair, and sustainable through re-conceived labels conveying what we now know to be important about our food⁶³.
- Enlist the advertising industry in a public service campaign to promote the consumption of vegetables in place of junk food and water in place of soda, particularly for children. Nothing would do more to reduce rates of Type 2 diabetes — and the federal spending required to treat it — than a reduction of soda consumption by children⁶⁴. To prevent the taste preferences of children being shaped by the advertising campaigns of food companies, tax advertising for junk food and soda and use the revenue to fund public campaigns on healthy foods.
- Partner and coordinate with NGOs as they develop a tough food industry pledge governing marketing to children, and then through the Partnership for a Healthier America, single out for recognition those food companies that sign it.
This is obviously a large undertaking, and one that will require not just political will — but also authority, coordination, and continuous monitoring. Many of the issues discussed here are now administratively intractable because purview over issues that need to be managed in tandem is distributed across various jurisdictions. Establishment of effective oversight to enable reform will mean restructuring the politics of food and agriculture; it would be foolish to underestimate the size of that task.
The Department of Agriculture (USDA) is large and saddled with disparate and often conflicting goals. It manages subsidy and trade promotion programs that incentivize production of the industrial commodities underpinning the global junk food culture, the very culture that it theoretically opposes by recommending healthful eating and administering the SNAP program⁶⁵. USDA should be reconstituted as a new entity, with a name that clearly identifies what must become its foremost mission. (We propose “The U.S. Department of Food, Health and Well-being.”) This measure would represent more than a ceremonial renaming but a broad reconceptualization of the purpose, structure, programs, and operations of the department, entailing elimination of obsolete and unaligned components, and recombination with functions currently established in separate agencies, such as HHS, EPA, and DOE. The rationale and framing for such government reform can be solidly based upon updating the agency, eliminating waste, and declaring victory where missions have been fulfilled.
For example: It may have made sense for USDA to administer anti-hunger programs when the leading public health issue was a lack of calories. But now that obesity is an even bigger problem than hunger in the U.S., the quality of nutrition assistance matters as much as its quantity, and when SNAP funding constitutes 80 percent of the Farm Bill budget, food and health should be preeminent in the objectives, expertise, programming, and directives of the department. The interests of production agriculture should be subordinated to the goals of nutrition and health. These meaningful reforms would encompass and inform institutional purchasing throughout all government agencies and programs, including SNAP, Women, Infants and Children, and the School Lunch Program. Nor are these reforms trivial: Increasing national consumption of fruits and vegetables to meet MyPlate⁶⁶recommendations would save more than 100,000 lives and $17 billion annually in health care costs from heart disease alone⁶⁷. Additionally, such actions would be more than prudent health management, constituting as they do more responsible public expenditure, and as such have broad public and non-partisan support, including from fiscal conservatives⁶⁸.
An example in the category of declaring victory for a mission fulfilled is the Foreign Agricultural Service, which functions to promote, develop and maintain export markets for U.S. agricultural products, using mechanisms such as credit guarantees for U.S. exports coupled with favorable credit terms for foreign buyers. This aligns the agency with the interests of productivism; thus some of the world’s most profitable corporations receive public subsidy for their global business models. When U.S. production began to outstrip domestic demand this function might have made sense, but now this program serves overproduction, environmental degradation, and ill health. Clearly this is a case where a mature industry can compete without aid.
A critical factor making farm subsidy programs difficult to reform is the alliance of commodity groups with the “hunger lobby,” an alliance that once served the interests of the urban poor. No longer, as demonstrated by the debate and negotiations over the 2014 Farm Bill, which occasionally raised the possibility of eliminating or severely underfunding SNAP. Today there is far more political support for nutrition programs than for crop subsidies, reflective of the demographic and democratic reality that there are many more hungry non-farming citizens than farmers. Breaking up the Farm Bill might be the best way to break the farm lobby’s stranglehold on our food policies⁶⁹,⁷⁰. As an initial step to enable this necessary shift to more effective farm policy deliberations in the future, the president should encourage House and Senate Leadership to reconstitute their respective “Agriculture Committees” as “Food and Health Committees,” with membership representative of the appropriate expertise and geographical diversity, on the irrefutable logic that the purview and mandate of these committees is too important to be left in the hands of a narrowly defined regional business interest group⁷¹.
Whether or not expanding the mission of the Department of Agriculture to take in food and health is politically feasible, the next president should appoint a National Food Policy Advisor, charged with:
- Coordinating food policy across all government departments⁷² to ensure that agriculture policies no longer undercut (but instead support) public health, energy, climate change, and our professed foreign policy goals to help low-income countries to feed themselves.
- Working to rationalize our dangerously fragmented food safety system, now divided across several different departments.
- Working to incorporate agriculture into climate change policy, by rewarding farmers for sequestering carbon and treating animal factories that contribute to climate change like any other polluting industries.
- Lobbying Congress for the necessary policies and reforms (e.g., conservation compliance, Child Nutrition Act, committee restructuring, etc.).
The U.S. government has never before had a national food policy, let alone one that seeks at the highest level to align federal agricultural policies with our public health and environmental objectives. Were the next president to inaugurate such a policy, and by executive action establish the mechanisms for its implementation, the potential would dramatically increase to drive long-term change in three critical issues of our times: health care, climate change, and economic equality. Sustained progress on all three of these issues will be limited unless progress is made in addressing a fourth, seemingly less salient issue: the health, sustainability, and fairness of the food system.
The National Food Policy is therefore not simply about food. It’s about health, it’s about rural landscapes, it’s about the environment, it’s about education, and it’s about poverty. It is also, ultimately, about whether democracy can respond — about our ability to move away from the policies we’ve been trapped in since the 1970s. The problems have changed since then; the change in policies to meet the new challenges we face is long overdue.
Appendix 1: Successful Existing Food Policy Models
The president can point to a number of working examples of successful municipal and regional programs, with robust business models, upon which federal programs can be patterned:
The City of Los Angeles’ “Good Food Pledge⁷³
The state of Michigan’s “Good Food Charter⁷⁴
North Carolina State’s Center for Environmental Food Systems⁷⁷, which has generated knowledge, businesses and jobs to supply the state’s demand and capacity to produce
2. Genetically modified organism
3. Gould, D. 2013. “Food Trends Get Technical, Sustainable and Healthy,” 28 Dec 2012, Forbes
4. Gilens, M., & Page, B. I. (2014). Testing Theories of American Politics: Elites, Interest Groups, and Average Citizens. Perspectives on Politics, 12(3), 564–581. doi:10.1017/S1537592714001595
6. Food and Nutrition Service (Department of Agriculture), Office of Disease Prevention and Health Promotion (Department of Health and Human Services), Institute of Medicine (National Academies), Division of Nutrition, Physical Activity and Obesity (Centers for Disease Control), National Prevention Strategy-Healthy Eating (Office of the Surgeon General), Nutrition Source (Harvard School of Public Health)
8. Economics Research Service (Department of Agriculture), Americans’ at-home food spending out of sync with dietary recommendations
11. Jackson, W. and W. Berry. A 50-Year Farm Bill, January 2009
17. Rausser, G., Simon, L., & Stevens, R. (2008). Public vs. Private Good Research at Land-Grant Universities. Journal of Agricultural & Food Industrial Organization, 6(2)
18. Pardey, P. G., J. M. Alston and C. Chan-Kang. “Public Food and Agricultural Research in the United States: The Rise and Decline of Public Investments, and Policies for Renewal,” AGree, April 2013
19. President’s Council of Advisors on Science and Technology, Report to the President on Agricultural Preparedness and The Agriculture Research Enterprise, Dec. 2012
21. Clean Water Act, Clean Air Act Amendments, Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation, and Liability Act (“Superfund”)
22. Environmental Quality Incentives Program, Natural Resource Conservation Service, Department of Agriculture
23. National Medal of Arts and National Humanities Medal Ceremony, The White House, March 2, 2011
24. The Unsettling of America: Culture & Agriculture (1996), p. 62
25. Methicillin Resistant Staphylococcus aureus
26. Kennedy, D. 2013. Science 342:777
32. “2014 Farm Bill Drill Down: Conservation — Crop Insurance Linkages,” National Sustainable Agriculture Coalition
33. Taxpayers for Common Sense, Senate’s New Way to Lock in Unlimited Farm Subsidies, July 4, 2012
34. “The Farm Bill Still Gives Wads of Cash to Agribusiness. It’s Just Sneakier About it,” New Republic, Feb 4, 2014
40. Ray, D. “Producers Leery of Grain Reserve: The Concept or the Implementation?” University of Tennessee Agricultural Policy Analysis Center
42. “Hospitals may be markets for healthier food to satisfy Obamacare,” Fresh Advantage
46. Berry, W. “Sales Resistance for Beginners,” IN: Sex, Economy, Freedom and Community, 1994
47. The Hamilton Project/Brookings Institution, Strengthening SNAP for a More Food-Secure, Healthy America. Policy Brief 2013–6
51. De Schutter, Olivier. The Right to an Adequate Diet: The Agriculture-Food-Health Nexus, 2012
56. Solving the Problem of Childhood Obesity Within a Generation, Let’s Move, May 2010
57. “Remarks by the First Lady at a Grocery Manufacturers Association Conference,” March 16, 2010
64. DeBoer, M. et al. 2013. Sugar-Sweetened Beverages and Weight Gain in 2- to 5-Year-Old Children, Pediatrics 132(3)
69. Together with the American public, we support farmers and their interests. Sadly, it is not these people and their interests who are served by the cynically named corporate “farm lobby.” “Farm lobbyists strike back against push to split House farm bill,” The Hill
71. Bellemare, Marc F., and Nicholas Carnes (2015). “Why Do Members of Congress Support Agricultural Protection?,” Food Policy 50: 20–34
72. Building upon precedent established by the President’s Childhood Obesity Task Force, which established in 2010 a concrete action plan of 5 goals and enjoined 7 Executive offices to work in coordination
Photo credit: Shari’s Berries