Skip to content Skip to main navigation Skip to footer

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