WASHINGTON – Plate of the Union, a campaign to shift federal food policy to better serve all Americans, kicked off this week with more than 30 top U.S. chefs convening on Capitol Hill to promote nutrition programs, clean drinking water and other environmental protections, consumer transparency, and standards that improve food safety and accessibility.
Food Policy Action Education Fund and the Environmental Working Group sponsored the kickoff of the campaign. Chef and food advocate Tom Colicchio, co-founder of FPA-EF, hosted the top chefs for a Plate of the Union farm bill summit and advocacy day on Capitol Hill.
The campaign is focused on raising awareness among lawmakers and consumers to promote a smarter approach to food policy ahead of the next farm bill, which Congress will begin debating in the coming months.
“For too many Americans, access to affordable, healthy and safe food is out of reach,” Colicchio said. “And it’s because Washington has been implementing backwards food and farming policy for decades. We are here to say enough is enough.”
Ken Cook, president of EWG and co-chair of FPA-EF, said consumers – not just Congress and agribusiness lobbyists – should have a voice in federal food policy.
“The nearly $1 trillion farm bill is really a food bill, profoundly affecting any American who eats, which means everyone,” said Cook. “We want our tax dollars spent to feed hungry kids safe, healthy and affordable food. We want everyone to have access to clean drinking water. And we want more local organic foods grown without unnecessary antibiotics and harmful fertilizers and pesticides.”
“This campaign is about protecting our basic right to healthy food, programs that will help end hunger in America, vital nutrition programs like SNAP, funding for healthy fruits and vegetables, and protecting the environment and our economy,” said José Andrés, an award-winning Washington chef.
“Ensure good, healthy, affordable and safe food for all Americans. It is that simple,” said chef Andrew Zimmern. “It is a right we should all be fighting for.”
The Plate of the Union campaign believes food and farm policies should fight hunger and food insecurity, revitalize land and reduce food waste, grow more organic food, and invest in clean water and healthy animals. These pillars stand up for healthy food, farms, families and communities.
Over the next year, the campaign will be back in Washington to make sure Congress gets the message that it’s time to make big changes to America’s food system that benefit consumers and the environment.
Ahead of their meetings with lawmakers on Capitol Hill, Colicchio, Andrés and Zimmern appeared on MSNBC to promote the Plate of the Union campaign, and press their case for federal farm policy that makes healthy, accessible food and the environment a priority.
Please find photos here from a number of meetings Chef Colicchio and others held with members of Congress yesterday on improving food and farm policy.