2018 Elections: Food & Farm Platform for Candidates, Voters, Media

FOOD-AND-FARM PLATFORM for 2018 Elections
Regenerating our Democracy, our Habitats, Ourselves 
A two-page platform for candidates, voters, and media.

Federal: Page 1
Systemic policies and programs implementable at the federal level  

State + Local: Page 2
Illinois-specific goals and strategies, most of which can easily apply to other states, as well as to other jurisdictions (county, municipal, school district, etc.)


BLOG: The following explanation of the platform is adapted from a January 2018 posting made to about 12,000 U.S. food-and-farm activists through public listservs:
— COMFOOD (Tufts University)
— Food Policy Networks – FPN (Johns Hopkins University)
— Women, Food, and Agriculture Network – WFAN  (Ames, Iowa)
— North American Food System Network – NAFSN   (Cornell University)
— Illinois Local Food and Farms Coalition  (Yahoo Group)
— Advocates for Urban Agriculture – AUA Greater Chicago  (Google Group)


Food & Farm Platform for Candidates, Voters, Media
Published Jan. 9, 2018

Food-and-farm policy is an impactful, practical framework with which to view the health of a society or civilization.  Candidates, voters, and media can use food-and-farm issues to highlight the interconnections of our individual and collective economy, democracy, and health.

In order to move food-and-farm policy conversations to a more central place in the 2018 U.S. elections, here’s a food-and-farm platform for my home state, Illinois. The platform can be used by state-level candidates (governor, state senator, etc.) as well as other levels and jurisdictions (U.S. Congress, county, etc.).  In addition, there are federal planks that we can all be working on.

Other states:
Many Illinois-specific goals and strategies apply equally to other states — e.g., farm to school, soil restoration, and civics education.  Candidates and voters should feel free to share this with your networks and to adapt it to your campaign, state, and jurisdiction.

Regenerating our Democracy, our Habitats, Ourselves

For Illinois candidates, voters, and journalists who want to
— Promote specific, practical policies for the benefit of Illinois farmers, mothers, and eaters
— Work with officials, voters, and media in other states on removing national obstacles to feeding ourselves
— Be identified as a “food-and-farm” candidate, voter, or journalist

Link:  Illinois Food and Farm Platform – 2018 Elections


The platform consists of two pages:
— Page 2 for Illinois-specific goals and strategies
— Page 1 for larger systemic strategies that can best be implemented at the federal level or in a national campaign

Individual planks in this platform can be adapted to different jurisdictional units — state, county, municipal, school board, etc.


The phrase

“Food-and-farm” is a term that has come into common use among 21st century food system practitioners, especially among
— Food security advocates who realize that hunger relief, good food access, and long-term food security doesn’t happen without farmers, and
— Farm justice advocates who realize that they need to ally with urban and suburban voters to amplify their decreasing and mostly rural voices.

“Food-and-farm” is also a reminder that food is a living thing and comes from the farm — the land, water, and air — not from a widget factory.

In other words, “food-and-farm” is both a practical and symbolic term denoting solidarity of intent, collectivity of action, a reciprocal economy, and a unified national mind on basic living needs provided by the Earth.

Impact of the food-and-farm framework
Activists especially will find food-and-farm policy to be a non-partisan, practical set of positive policies that doesn’t need a lot of lobbying.  This was shown with the Illinois Food, Farms, and Jobs Plan (adopted in 2009 by the Illinois General Assembly), sponsored and written by Evanston’s State Rep. Julie Hamos (18th disrict).

— 2007 – UNANIMOUS VOTE. The Plan was commissioned by the Illinois General Assembly through the Illinois Food, Farms, and Jobs Act of 2007. The bill was passed unanimously even though it was perceived as a “farm” bill sponsored by an urban legislator.

— 2009 – UNANIMOUS BUT ONE The second Illinois Food, Farms, and Jobs Act (2009), which adopted the Plan, was also passed unanimously, except for one vote. This was a testament to Julie Hamos’s reputation as a smart and fair legislator, as well as the statewide coalition that worked on this plan. (The one “no” vote was on a technicality — the proposed size of the Local Food, Farms, and Jobs Council. In 2016 the Council size was reduced.)

Candidates who want to be known as a “food-and-farm” candidate should do any or all of the following:
— List “Food-and-Farm” on your website as one of your issues
— Promote at least one specific plank that benefits all “farmers, mothers, and eaters” alike in your jurisdiction
— Identify “food-and-farm” organizations in your jurisdiction on your website
— Hire a food-and-farm policy strategist during your campaign (and after you’re elected!)
— Raise campaign funds based on your commitment to working on food-and-farm issues


Here’s to 2018 — when every candidate tries to be a food-and-farm candidate.

PS  Thanks to…..    I have not asked for anyone’s endorsement of this platform nor should any endorsement be assumed in my thanks. But I wish to acknowledge that many people’s work is in this platform, in one way or another.

Thank you to all the food system folks represented by the various resources that I’ve cited or linked to — and to all the people who staff the organizations, write the reports, cover these issues in the media — and to the farmers, mothers, and eaters (including non-humans) at the center of the food-and-farm system.

Special thanks to food-and-farm colleagues who gave me information for specific planks as well as encouragement:
Organic Consumers Assn./Resist + Regenerate:
— Alexis Baden-Mayer (Policy Director)
— Pat Kerrigan (Midwest Retail Educator)
Liza Marron, San Luis Valley Local Foods Coalition (Colorado)
Meg Hourigan, Hartford Advisory Commission on Food Policy (Connecticut)
Liz Henderson (Peacework CSA, New York)
Brad Wilson (Iowa farmer, farm justice advocate)
Patti Edwardson Naylor (Iowa farmer, activist)
University of Illinois – Extension
— Bill Davison, Extension Educator – Small Farms & Local Food Systems
Iowa State University – Graduate Program in Sustainable Agriculture
— Angie Carter
— Gabrielle Roesch-McNally
Center for Integrated Agricultural Systems – Univ. of Wisconsin-Madison
— Michelle Miller, Assoc. Director





Monetary science and healing for white supremacists, Jews, and other confused Americans

This is an edited and expanded version of a private comment sent to Eric K. Ward, whose June essay went viral during the weekend of Aug. 11, 2017 (as events were unfolding in Charlottesville, VA and as initiated by a gathering of white supremacists, neo-Nazis, etc.).

Monetary science and healing for white supremacists, Jews, and other confused Americans:
Historical, intellectual, and social errors regarding money, banking, and government — OR — legitimate anger, misplaced hate?

Posted August 18, 2017
Written in response to Skin in the Game: How Antisemitism Animates White Nationalism (Political Research Associates, June 29, 2017)
by Eric K. Ward, Senior Fellow at Southern Poverty Law Center

For the record, I am not excusing anyone’s racist, anti-semitic, misogynist words and actions or any other group-think hate. Nor is the title of this blogpost meant to be humorous. I am a Jew, a 66-year old woman, a lifelong activist, and I think it’s time for some plain speech.

I am grateful to other Americans and non-Americans — especially women — who are drawing clear lines against intentional terror and over-privilege of all kinds. Since January 21, 2017, the folksong Which Side are you On? (Florence Reece) is the anthem that has been playing in my head. And after a lot of self-examination, I’m pretty sure that the side I’m on is called “Life on Earth for All” — or “Let me know when you want to sit down and talk — because even though I’m a woman, Jewish, fat, old, and a bicyclist, I’m not going anywhere anytime soon.  I claim my home on Earth, my space on the road, and my seat at every decision-making table — including the one that designs our U.S. money and banking system.”

The events in Charlottesville, along with a Chicago event coming up in September, have spurred me to write about our collective confusion about money and how 99% of us Americans have legitimate reasons to be very angry in 2017 — going back hundreds of years. There is a difference between legitimate anger and misplaced hatred. But I believe that there are three reasons that American white supremacists might be legitimately angry.  Like most of us Americans, they have been brought up under (a) patriarchy, which promotes toxic masculinity and a toxic alpha male theory, (b) a highly manipulated and engineered money and banking system, privately controlled by overly rich people and would-be overly rich people of all kinds, and (c) a general mainstream culture that promotes spiritual paralysis and mental flatlining.

The amazing thing in 2017 is that people (especially Americans) have been waking up and questioning everything — including our individual roles in a toxic culture. What’s been really exciting to me is that for the last two years I have started to see (thanks to many researchers and thinkers in many fields) some very simple and foundational errors that we’ve all been making about the nature of money, prices, “free” markets, business cycles, etc.  After a lifetime of looking for the kinks in history — where did humans go wrong? where did the U.S. go wrong? — this one was a huge relief.  And even though I had to go through some very difficult financial moments to get here, I can truly say, “Thank goodness. This might be be the way forward.”

At this historical moment, most of us are in pain from a variety of confusions, buried under generations of human-created artifacts, beliefs, traditions, unexamined assumptions.  In the hope of healing us all (including the Earth), here’s how I’m connecting the dots.

Why do white supremacists think that they hate Jews?
One of the overt reasons that white supremacists say they hate Jews is because of Jews’ long-time connection to business, especially the development of finance as business, and later finance as business as government. Of course, Jews were not the only religion or ethnic group to participate in that development (especially in the “West’).  According to Stephen Zarlenga, author of the 700+ page 2002 book, The Lost Science of Money, the list of individuals and groups is long who developed our 21st century U.S. business-financial-government structures and theories. On a very quick scan, Zarlenga mentions:  Jews, Muslims, Christians of all kinds (including but not limited to Catholics, Lutherans, Calvinists, Episcopalians), deists, and people from nearly every European nation (including but not limited to English, Dutch, Germans, Austrians, French, Spanish, Portuguese, Greeks, Italians).

But, inasmuch as the development of finance as business as government is the source of most of our current American confusion and stress, Jews have been an easy, knee-jerk target around which to spin ignorant tales and to project guilt-riddled blame.

The good news is that there are more and more scholars, independent researchers, journalists, and grassroots organizers who are literally “following” the money — back to the historical roots of money, the definitions of money, the theories of money, and the science of money. Along the way, they are uncovering all sorts of errors that have beset the fair use of money as a human construct. Combining the intellectual and social errors about money, intentional bad behavior by many different kinds of people over hundreds of years (especially leaders), and the legitimate anger of most 21st century Americans, I think we get a partial understanding of Charlottesville, VA in August 2017.

Charlottesville, VA – August 2017
Here are three short paragraphs that make direct reference to this current historical moment (August 2017), even though the book’s author is recently deceased (April 2017):

From The Lost Science of Money: The Mythology of Money — the Story of Power (American Monetary Institute, 2002)
by Stephen Zarlenga

p, 260 Writing about England in the 1200s, Zarlenga first quotes another researcher, James Parkes (The Jew in the Medieval Community) and then adds his own commentary (and his own italics):

“ ‘The main responsibility not merely for Jewish usury, but for all medieval usury, must lie with the intellectual leaders of the age, who made no proper provision for a universal want.’  (Parkes)

“At the bottom of this failure — then and now — was the error in their concept of money: viewing it as a commodity, failing to recognize the legal nature of money, and to act upon that knowledge and set up honest money systems based in law. Even today one anticipated side effect of healthy monetary reform would be a meaningful reduction in the still continuing tension between Jewish and non Jewish communities.

“If one now finds it important to determine on which side the greater blame lay, in fairness one would have to weigh who had the greater understanding of money and of the results of usury (especially if that knowledge was being obscured), with who had greater freedom of choice.”

The Nature of Money: Common errors in banking, economics, and law unpacked
The key errors that have been made by different people at different times (going back hundreds of years) and that the money scientists are now unpacking are:

1. Erroneous belief in money as a natural commodity (gold, silver, grain, etc.) vs. money as an abstract social and legal construct — a relationship or a commons.
2. The commercial banking and investment industry has usurped the public power to create and control the money supply, primarily through fractional reserve lending, usury, and macro usury (interest on fractional reserve loans).
3. In order to create money (out of thin air), commercial banks need to “lend” to big, capital intensive projects — such as war, such as big construction projects (pipelines, factory farms, prisons), etc.
4. The Nobel prize for economics is not part of the original Nobel legacy. The Nobel prize for economics was itself created to provide a smokescreen for more-and-more privatized control of finance-as-government.
5. Many economists are part of the confusion in that they work primarily in theory, the abstract, and the mathematical — without actually measuring their work against short- or long-term reality. Mainstream training of economists (as well as public schools K-12) includes very little education about the history and science of money (currency).
6. Over-use of land and other natural resources (water, air, mining, etc.) is directly caused by usury, fractional reserve lending, and other financial mechanisms. Collectively, humans produce more than we need in order to pay back illegal and immoral debts.
7. The Federal Reserve system is not a public institution.

It’s not completely clear how much of our American confusion has to do with us
— getting snookered or brainwashed
— being spiritually paralyzed or asleep
— trying to make public decisions without the community of half of the adult population (women)
— trying to make public decisions without the community of most of the other half of the adult population (men who are not in the 1%)
— making some other avoidable error

But it is 100% clear to me, at the age of 66 in 2017, that getting clear on the science of money is one of the most effective mental health treatments there is — for any 21st century American.  There are good reasons to be existentially angry in 2017 — for 99% of us.  Let’s refocus the hatred into undoing one of the deepest and most collective causes of that anger — the current disfunctional, very undemocratic, immoral, and illegal U.S. money and banking system.

Here are some hyper-current resources to continue the healing process.


1. BOOK. Stephen Zarlenga’s book, The Lost Science of Money. is 700+ pages and a pretty deep read, given our collective confusion about money and banking and our general American disinterest in history. But it’s also highly informative and entertaining. I definitely recommend it.

2. CONFERENCE.  13th annual  American Monetary Institute conference
Sept. 14-17, 2017, downtown Chicago

This is the organization that Stephen Zarlenga co-founded and led as the primary visionary for 21st century monetary and banking reform. This is the first AMI conference since the 2016 presidential election and the organizers are feeling the need to get their learning and proposals out to a larger public. The conference will:

— Discuss a variety of monetary reforms, primarily the NEED Act (a bailout for the people and infrastructure plus restructure of the Federal Reserve system, introduced into Congress by Dennis Kucinich in 2012)
— Celebrate and memorialize the author of The Lost Science of Money (Stephen Zarlenga), who died earlier this year (April 24, 2017, in his Chicago-area home).
— Feature international speakers on many aspects of money, banking, and democracy

3. VIDEO. The New Abolitionism: Monetary Reform, Democracy, and the Future of Human Rights
Rev. Delman Coates is a Black Baptist pastor at a megachurch in Clinton, Maryland who got sensitized to discrepancies in our financial and banking systems through the 2008 foreclosure crisis. He is now becoming an advocate for monetary reform. He believes that had Martin Luther King, Jr. lived he would have honed in even more deeply on structural money reform (he mentions Dr. King’s call for a “bank-in” in Memphis).

Rev. Coates’s presentation (August 4, 2017) was one of a number of sessions on “Money and Democracy” at the Democracy Convention in Minneapolis. He is planning events on banking and money in October 2017 and April 2018.

4. ORGANIZATION. Life after Hate
A Chicago-based organization that helps people in hate groups disengage and heal. The organization recently lost some funding when the Trump Department of Homeland Security removed the group from the Countering Violent Extremism program approved by the Obama administration.   So far as I know, they have not been using monetary reform as a healing technique, but I have made the suggestion.  Whether they decide to add this to their toolkit, they are an organization worth knowing about:

See the August 17, 2017 Democracy Now! segment:
Life After Hate: Trump Admin Stops Funding Former neo-Nazis who Now Fight White Supremacy

Or donate to Life after Hate here:  Donate.

5. OTHER. There are many other resources — books, articles, podcasts, videos, organizations — as well as legislation and projects, especially at the state and local levels. I will be adding details in future posts.


Update March 11, 2018:  The title of this blogpost has been updated from the original title (“Monetary science and healing for white supremacists and other confused Americans”). The current title — “Monetary science and healing for white supremacists, Jews, and other confused Americans” — is more accurate and more healing — I hope.