The US food system should be providing healthy, sustainably produced food for all. Instead, it’s damaging our health, our land and water, our communities, and farmers and food workers themselves. We can do better.
What's at stake
Food is woven deeply into the fabric of our daily lives. It nourishes our bodies, binds together communities, and provides a good living for the millions of people who work to produce, distribute and sell it. And it does all this while sustaining and regenerating the resources that it depends on.
At least, food should do all those things. But the current US food system too often plays a different—and destructive—role. Instead of keeping us healthy, it fuels epidemics of diabetes and heart disease. Instead of supporting strong communities, it exploits workers, worsens racial and income inequality, and drains money from local economies. Instead of working with nature in a resilient, sustainable way, today’s dominant farming methods despoil the landscape, pollute air and water, and accelerate climate change.
These problems didn’t arise by accident: they are the result of policies driven by narrow private interests rather than the public good.
The good news is that we know how to build a better food system—one that provides healthy, sustainably produced food for all and treats everyone at every stage of the system fairly. A growing movement of farmers, workers, scientists, community activists and eaters is working to make this vision a reality. UCS is part of this movement—and you can help.
What you can do:
Vote for change with your wallet
Consumer choices alone won’t be enough to transform the system, but they can help. Where possible, you can vote for sustainability by buying organic produce and dairy; for fairness to workers by buying certified fair fruits and vegetables; and for strong rural communities by buying from local and regional farmers.
Eat less meat, especially beef
Livestock in today’s food system are responsible for a substantial chunk of our climate emissions. An average family of four that cuts its meat intake in half will avoid roughly three tons of emissions annually—and enjoy better health as a bonus.
Support better food policies
Government policies like the farm bill and the Dietary Guidelines for Americans can be a powerful force for improving our food system—but only if we raise our voices and make sure our representatives know this matters to us.
What I appreciate about UCS is they’re looking at the farm bill not thru one policy, but across lots of different issues. That’s helpful for pushing a broad bill across the finish line. They’re a big picture organization.