For 60+ years, U.S. food policy has been made by rural legislators and other small cohorts (too numerous to mention), disconnected from each other, from consumers, and from the frontlines of our food system — mothers, farmers, food chain workers, and other caretakers of land and people.
Food as a Campaign Issue. In my entire life (61 years), I do not think that FOOD has ever been a national campaign issue. Although FOOD is a daily need and our most complicated need (variety, logistics, time to grow, prepare, etc.) on a meal-to-meal basis, election websites do not list FOOD in their long lists of campaign issues in the 2012 election. In terms of collective and personal time, materials, money, land and room, infrastructure, equipment, the food and farm system takes up the largest chunk of all our resources combined. In other words, the food and farm economy is THE central organizing system for healthy human cultures.
The genius of the community food security movement is that it has identified FOOD as the missing piece of our collective discussions and decision-making, and that it is quickly identifying methods and institutions to put ALL people into one real conversation about one real and universal need — FOOD.
The genius of democratic theory (compared to our ineffective representative republic) is that it also proposes a similar template for adult self-governance: One conversation and one decision-making table, where everyone has standing, everyone has a voice, and everyone has an act of power — a vote.
FOOD VOTE 2012: National U.S. Survey
In the interests of using our Food voices, learning how to implement participatory democracy, and adding to the current collective food conversation, I offer a national survey, Food Vote 2012.
SURVEY BACKGROUND. The Food Vote 2012 survey has been in preparation since April 2012. On June 10, 2012, a pilot survey went live in Illinois, my home state. Six weeks later, I was ready to go live with the national survey when the announcement was made (on August 6) about the imminent closing of the Community Food Security Coalition. In the context of this major shift in the North American community food system landscape, I have added some questions that may be useful to the movement as a whole, going forward (and that have improved the survey, I think). (Because policy is ultimately about standing in a particular jurisdiction, I have chosen to concentrate this survey of U.S. policy and U.S. actions.)
SURVEY CONTENT. The National Food Vote 2012 Survey seeks to highlight current opportunities for collective, leveraged action around FOOD. Survey questions are organized around 3 categories of opportunities:
1. 2012 Election, especially the U.S. House of Representatives: There are still 8 state primaries to go and there is still plenty of time to talk to candidates about FOOD issues.
2. High-leverage policies that can address deep FOOD system issues: (a) Federal policies, and (b) Constitutional amendments
3. Other collective action: Demonstrations, teach-ins (funders, media), finding a replacement umbrella organization for CFSC (or re-organizing CFSC), participating in Food Day, webinars on banking, law-making, participatory budgeting, etc.
1. Link to National Food Vote 2012 Survey:
Food Vote 2012
2. Open to any U.S. resident, voters and non-voters.
3. Survey will take 10-20 minutes of your time, depending on how much personal comment you want to share (There is lots of space for additional alternatives.)
4. Food Vote 2012 survey will remain live through November 6, 2012 (and possibly beyond)
5. Results will be shared through a weekly blog.
6. Illinois residents who took my pilot survey may want to take this national survey because of the added questions.
Please share this survey with anyone in your U.S. networks — friends, neighbors, family, colleagues.