Skip to content Skip to main navigation Skip to footer

2017 and 2018 Elections: Food-and-farm platforms, food-and-farm candidates

2017 and 2018 Elections: Every candidate a food-and-farm candidate?
Statewide Food-and-farm Platforms

Posted July 28, 2017

On June 26, 2017 I posted a query to two of the largest and most active national and North American food-and-farm listservs — COMFOOD (Tufts Univ.) and FPN (Food Policy Networks – Johns Hopkins Univ.).

Does anyone have a good food-and-farm plank for a STATE election platform? specifically, for a gubernatorial campaign?
Has any recent U.S. gubernatorial candidate run on a food-and-farm platform?

Just one or two sentences would be great. Or an actual plank from an actual U.S. state platform.

GOAL: My primary interest is to create better, more concrete public discussions during Illinois elections and to create real planks and platforms for which winning candidates can be held accountable during a measurable timeframe — e.g., the first year in office.

STRATEGY: The strategy toward that goal is to
— develop an Illinois food-and-farm platform (5-10 planks — individual actionable items that are specific enough for measurement)
— get every candidate to adopt at least one plank, thereby becoming a food-and-farm candidate
— so that food-and-farm is now an Illinois campaign issue, with a real track record
— so that the winner is automatically a food-and-farm candidate


RESPONSES: I received a number of great responses, but most were long (including one book!) — not 1-2 sentences. In a separate blogpost, I will be doing some detailed analysis, but here is the raw information I received (along with two other relevant documents)

I’ve compiled the responses into two versions, a complete version (including all the context that people sent) and a short version (mostly bullet points)
COMPLETE VERSION:  a 23-page PDF, the contents of which are listed below.

There are 10 separate “platforms” but only 4 are state-level platforms from actual states, developed by the people who live there (Illinois, Maine, New York, Virginia). However, there is a lot of good messaging, good context, etc., in all.  For the moment, I offer these documents as action-oriented study guides for grassroots groups, etc.

NEXT STEPS for 2017 and 2018 elections
— in Illinois (statewide platform)
— in the other 49 states (statewide platforms)
— adapt statewide platforms for local races (county, municipal, school board, etc.)
— adapt statewide platforms for national initiatives (Farm Bill, etc.)

Not surprisingly (post-2016 presidential election), other food-and-farm organizations are
— getting active around the next elections (mostly 2018, but there are some 2017 elections)
— concentrating on state and local jurisdictions
— really honing their messaging and organizing to be more politically effective

a. Resist + Regenerate (a project of Organic Consumers Assn. + Regeneration International).
I was delighted to learn about the new Resist + Regenerate initiative. We have agreed to work together informally on
— helping residents of each state develop their own food-and-farm platforms, which can also be adapted for local elections (county, city, school district, etc.). This will be accomplished primarily through a growing network of Meet-up groups.
— using Illinois as one of the states to really push the grassroots organizing and platform development
— using our state-by-state learning to craft a better, more unified national platform that can be used by any and all food-and-farm organizations for (a) 2020 national elections, and (b) Farm Bill discussions (which start officially next year I believe).

Resist + Regenerate is currently drafting a press release on the project. Stay tuned for the formal announcement, but the project is already underway. If you want to connect with this initiative directly (or start a group in your state), here’s the link about the campaign (including a map of existing Meet-up groups):

b. Illinois
In addition to working through the Meet-up groups of Resist + Regenerate (there are already a number of them in Illinois), I will continue to work through the other Illinois food-and-farm networks, to cross-pollinate our platform and candidate development efforts.


CONTENTS OF the 23-page PDF, a complete compilation of the responses that I got.

1. Pages 1-2
Illinois Local Food, Farms, and Jobs Plan – Goals for 2020
(published and adopted by the Illinois General Assembly in 2009)

2. Pages 2-4
Illinois Local Food, Farms, and Jobs Plan — Complete list of Obstacles and Solutions for Building an Illinois Local Food, Farms, and Jobs Economy

3. Page 5: From Alexis Baden-Mayer (Political Director, Organic Consumers Assn.)
Virginia: Candidates who will Resist & Regenerate (in 2017)

4. Pages 6-7: From Bob St. Peter (Maine) – email sent to COMFOOD in December 2013
List of Needs of Maine’s Farmers and Farm Workers

5. Pages 8-11: From Elizabeth Henderson (Peacework CSA, New York)
Sustainable Agriculture and Food Justice – Green Party platform of Howie Hawkins
Candidate for governor, New York, 2010

6. Pages 12-13: From Mark Dunlea (New York)
Howie Hawkins platform (2010), Green Party candidate for governor, New York
Colia Clark, Green Party candidate for U.S. Senator from New York

7. Pages 14-15: From Mark Dunlea (New York)
Green Party platform – national
Compiled by Denis Spisak, Green Party of Ohio Nominee for Governor

8. Pages 16-20: From Brad Wilson (Iowa)
Pro-Farmer State Strategy: Reconcile Farm Justice with Sustainability

9. Page 21: From Patti Edwardson Naylor (Iowa)
— Questions for candidates: national-global platform
— Open letter from League of Women in Food & Agriculture to 2017 U.S. Presidential Cabinet

10. Page 22 & 23: From Navina Khanna (HEAL, California)
— Plate of the Union Platform (a national platform?)
— Heal Food Alliance (a national platform?)

Not included in the compilation were two other recommendations that may be worth investigating.
— Two people recommended checking out Francis Thicke’s campaign materials (including his book) from his 2010 run for Secretary of Agriculture of Iowa. I did not receive anything short enough or succinct enough to include.

— One respondent reminded me of Chellie Pingree (U.S. Rep. from Maine) but in 2012 I didn’t find anything usable from Rep. Pingree’s website.