Urban Farming

Donald Trump Is Terrible News For Our Food System

CHICAGO — Merely over a week since such elections, groupings of more than 100 food proponents, entrepreneurs and farmers who gathered in the University of Chicago Booth School of Business’ Gleacher Center to debate food policy seemed reluctant to discuss President-elect Donald Trump.

As a procession of experts spent Wednesday morning debating farming rules, hunger and food waste at the inaugural Chicago Food Tank summit, such elections was generally only alluded to, generally accompanied with a chorus of groans and loud sighs.

That was until Juliette Majot took to the podium.

“It is amazing to me that I’ve heard relatively limited about such elections we are only experienced today, ” Majot, executive director of the Institute for Agriculture and Trade Policy environmental nonprofit, said.

Majot showed her frustration that issues like agriculture and food systems were scarcely mentioned during the presidential campaign, and that climate change denier Myron Ebell has been chosen by Trump to lead the transition at the Environmental Protection Agency.

“We cannot normalize what is going on, ” Majot resumed. “We utterly must place agriculture and food into the context of society and into the context of our political structure.”

There are plenty of legitimate reasons that advocates for healthier and more sustainably produced food are concerned about a Trump administration.

While Trump’s campaign did not react to a HuffPost survey on food issues that was distributed to all the major party candidates earlier this year, and he has liberated few public the indicators of his positions on food policies, the minimal prove thus far points to a White House far less concerned with the sustainability of food.

This week, one member of Trump’s agriculture advisory committee, U.S. Rep. Robert Aderholt( R-Ala .), told CBS News that he “would be very surprised if we don’t envision some major changes on the school lunch program” under Trump, showing that improvements to the program built under the Obama administration may be threatened.

Food safety promotions also appear to be at risk. In a fact sheet posted to Trump’s campaign website in September, awareness-raising campaigns called for “eliminating” “the FDA food police, ” which the paper blamed for over-inspecting food facilities. The sheet was afterward removed from the website and replaced with a brand-new one that did not mention the FDA.

Beyond Trump’s selection of Ebell to lead the transition of the EPA, the president-elect has also repeatedly threatened to wholly eliminate the agency , which works to ensure that farming and ranching runnings don’t negatively impact human health or the environment.

Credit: Ty Wright/ Getty Images
President-elect Donald Trump has built his affinity for fast food well known. Food proponents panic what that couldmean for food policy under his government.

In a more recent development, Trump’s selection of agribusiness lobbyist Michael Torrey, who is reportedly manager the administration’s transition of the Department of Agriculture, has also elevated eyebrows.

According to Open Secrets, Torrey’s firm’s biggest recent clients have included the soda-touting American Beverage Association, the Crop Insurance and Reinsurance Bureau, the Snack Food Association and pizza giant Little Caesar’s — all groups whose concerns would appear to run counter to those of the “good food” movement.

In addition, a “talking points” document reportedly created for Trump’s ag advisory committee obtained this week by Politico swore to “defend American agriculture against its critics, particularly those who have never developed or produced anything beyond a backyard tomato plant” and return to conventional, as opposed to organic, farming methods.

Danielle Nierenberg, Food Tank cofounder and chairperson, are recognizing that the election of the fast food-loving Trump is “a different combat than many of us[ in the food move] anticipated.” But she is not dwelling on it.

“The country elected[ Trump] and we have to work with him. A plenty of us are not happy about it, but now we need to move forward, ” Nierenberg said.

She did point to signs of hope in the nomination of two members of Trump’s ag advisory committee: former California secretary of food and agriculture A.G. Kawamura, who Nierenberg called a “big proponent” of urban agriculture, and U.S. Rep. Mike Conaway( R-Texas ), current chairman of the House Agriculture Committee and a “really good guy” she is optimistic will be open to hearing from food advocates.

Nierenberg is hopeful that individuals like them will be open to concerns about sustainability and ethics in our food items over the next four years.

“We have to find people on that side of the debate who will really listen to the americans and are open to different standpoints and possibilities, ” Nierenberg added. “But we have to construct those inroads. We merely don’t have a alternative now.”

Joseph Erbentraut embraces promising innovations and challenges in the areas of food and liquid. In add-on, Erbentraut explores the evolving spaces Americans are identifying and defining themselves. Follow Erbentraut on Twitter at @robojojo. Tips? Email joseph.erbentraut @huffingtonpost. com .

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