The Westchester chapter of Food & Water Watch held a hopeful day of action in the courtyard of Tuesday—where the group’s volunteers asked passersby to call U.S. Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand’s office, asking her to represent their desire for a better food system with a fair Farm Bill.
“We’ve definitely been getting a lot of call-ins—it’s exciting to see the people take action,” said Emma Greenbaum, with the Food & Water Watch Fair Farm Bill campaign. “It’s been nice having phone lines clogged-up. We want her to know this is what her constituents care about.”
The White Plains event was part of a national Food & Water Watch event where citizens called members of the U.S. Senate Agricultural Committee to demand an end to the corporate stranglehold on the food system by adding new provisions to the Fair Bill that is up for re-authorization in 2012, which would prevent unfair contracts for farmers and price ramp-ups.
According to Food & Water Watch’s website, the majority of supermarkets carry mostly cheap processed foods, as well as meats and vegtables that are produced in factory farms that use antibiotics, artificial hormones and pesticides, which is generally unhealthy and is produced outside the country.
The non-profit organization, based in Washington D.C., says this is because the current Farm Bill allows a few large food corporations—who control most of the country’s food production—to force farmers into producing food in certain ways, for little money.
“People want local healthy food," said Greenbaum. "People have a wide range of concerns frompesticides, to antibiotics, to hormones, to GMOs [genetically modified organisms], to crop diversity—those are problems that happen when food is in the hands of a powerful few. This is not the way it’s always been, and certainly isn’t the way it has to be.”
Food & Water Watch says a fair Farm Bill is better for the environment, for farmers and everyone who eats food. Click here for more information on the current food system and what a fair farm bill means.
“People are pretty responsive,” said Greenbaum. “I feel people care about small farmers and want this to happen.”
Nancy Kennedy, a Westchester Food & Water Watch volunteer, says everyone should get involved to petition for a healthy food system, even if it means volunteering for only a half hour.
“Basically, we’re interrupting people’s lives and asking them if they are so inclined to assist small farmers,” said Kennedy, an Ossining resident.
In order to restore America’s broken food system and create a country of healthy sustainable farms—Greenbaum and Kennedy say that everyone should share information with friends and family on the truths of the current food system, but more importantly help “grow the movement” by taking action and encouraging others to do the same. Click here for “The Biggest Farm Bill Loser” YouTube video by Food & Water Watch on the history of the food system.
“Change does happen, and it happens one person at a time,” said Kennedy.
Westchester Food and Water Watch is looking for members and volunteers. For more information, contact Emma Greenbaum at 520-275-4812 or firstname.lastname@example.org.