To empower individuals to advocate for a food system that ensures everyone has the right to food produced in a way that respects people and the planet.
Empowering Individuals: We believe that the only way to counteract the corporate greed and political inertia that created the status quo, we need to build a network of individuals advocating for a better food system. Eat the Vote aims to provide the information, training and resources needed for any citizen to hold policy makers accountable.
Advocate: Raising awareness will be important but knowledge is nothing without action. We want our members to form relationships with law makers so we can be proactive about good food policy and not just reactive about bad food policy. This means phone calls, letters, and face to face meetings so elected officials know where their voters stand on food issues even when no legislation has been introduced. Candidates and incumbents both will also need to hear from voters that food policy matters.
Food System: Eat the Vote takes a systems approach to food. When we say food system we go beyond what was on your dinner plate. Food is most obviously important to your health, but we want to think about how that food was grown, who it was grown by and how did it get to you. Borrowing from the academic idea of political ecology, we believe we cannot parse out the political, economic, social, and environmental factors of individual parts of the food system. A systems approach means when we act we will think about race, class, and gender as well as the environment, poverty, and hunger.
Right to Food: There are various approaches to dealing with food insecurity. We believe as our society should be able to ensure everyone has access to food. Beyond access, though, we should be striving to ensure everyone can feed themselves with dignity. This means advocating for programs that helps people get a living wage and purchase or grow their own food whenever possible. Programs like the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP, formerly food stamps) and other nutrition assistance programs are absolutely necessary and is a big part of our work, but we want to address the root causes of hunger and nutrition equity by going beyond assistance programs.
Respect People: Cheap food has been part of the problem and cannot be part of the solution. Our current system relies on cheap and exploitative labor. Those growing, harvesting, transporting, processing and cooking our food should be earning a living wage so they can provide good food for their families without needing nutrition assistance programs or food charity. Federal, state, and local policies should work toward supporting food industry workers. We cannot keep food prices artificially low by exploiting those in the food industry.
Respect the Planet: In addition to exploiting labor, our current system has also taken a toll on the planet. While we are primarily concerned with the right to food, we stand firmly that the right to food cannot come at the cost of the planet. Current farming practices rely heavily on pesticides, herbicides and antibiotics rather than on practices that are in concert with nature. Respecting the planet is a worthwhile goal in itself, but by respecting the planet we also further protect human health.