Every election, some famous writer composes one of those open letters to the new president. Having seen none this time, I took a crack at my own.
Dear President Trump,
Somewhere in the galaxy, not far away, live people, land, and animals working together in healthful and happy synchronicity. They don’t look all the same, and neither does the food they grow; diversity is their strength. It’s closer than you think; in fact, it’s right here on earth. Find it in the small among us; possibly an odd concept for a Think-Big kinda-guy like you.
You know, you’ve been really great, and I mean great, really fabulous, taking small into huge …and your cabinet too, that ol’ Goldman Sachs family reunion. Y’all made lots of money on BIG, congrats. But guys, as much as we don’t need a behemoth, unregulated financial world, we don’t want a food system that’s too big to fail either.
I run my own business. I follow the economy, read the news, and even try to make some of my own. I pay taxes like all the other stupid people. I’m invested in the outcome of America.
You’ve said “no one can ever be too greedy,” but my father, Ed Stec, he taught me differently. You say your beauty is being very rich, but I say the beauty of your people is threatened if big and greedy always win.
Lighten up Prezy, I’m just talkin’ food here. Since you are the smartest man with the highest IQ (your words), you know the business model for food is all wrong. Big Ag & Big Food doesn’t work. It never has.
We manufacture food like we do pencils and socks, and you know that’s unacceptable. Our get-big-ship-everywhere-or-get-out system processes the hell out of food widgets and glues them back into fortified fodder. Prezy, it’s Fake Food, and it fails because real food is perishable, freshness matters, and we shouldn’t stuff endless mounds of food-like crap in our bodies anyways. That failing Food Industry...they should be ashamed. They’ve lost their soul, and your people have gotten fat.
And you don’t like fat.
Beef in Chief, since you are more honest and your women more beautiful (your words your words), I know you’d prefer all your people; your whites, your African Americans, your Mexicans and Asians, to look this way. We have to clean up the American diet so that when you view us – we please you. I write today in my high heels and low-neck sweater asking pretty please, while gnawing meat and bones these next four years, think beyond big.
Small is beautiful for food. Just don’t ask “why” to your choice for Secretary of Agriculture, former Georgia Governor Sonny Perdue, a guy who looks like he hasn’t eaten a vegetable in years. (By the way…do you call him “fat piggie” too, or is that just a pet name reserved for women?) With a background in fossil fuel-fertilizers and monocropped-grain commodities, Sonny only knows big.
So here’s where I come in.
As your Secretary of Plate, allow me to suggest that #FakeFood won’t work to please you, or put us back to work. Did you know if food company mergers continue at current pace, by 2050, the entire food system may be owned, farm to fork, by only 5-7 food companies world-wide with only a few based in the United States? Guess who that is?*
No Sauce Boss, it’s mid-scale agriculture and food systems that give communities a chance and will make us all HOT in your eyes. Please keep supporting Federal small – midsize grower and eater efforts such as:
1) Know your Farmer, Know your Food, offering grants, loans, and new business to local and regional farmers, ranchers and food businesses, and connecting consumers to local food.
2) The Healthy Hunger –Free Kids Act that supports healthier standards for the National Schools Lunch Program, promotes vegetables and whole grains to our children, and sponsors educational efforts like seasonal vegetable & fruit of the month. This act is up for reauthorization POTUS. Remember, beauty is calling.
3) MyPlate, replacing the Food Pyramid with half a dinner plate of fruits and veggies. #FakeFood-wants-fried-and-frozen.
4) Farm Bill 2014, which for all it’s imperfections, did include more money for SNAP fruit and vegetable purchases, and financial support for Know your Farmer, Know your Food. It funded part of the $1 billion given by the USDA to local and regional food projects since 2009, and help double U.S. farmers markets, from 4,685 to 8,669. Updated every four years, Farm Bill 2018 will be the first time since 1954 that Republicans control the House, Senate, and White House during debate and passage.
- Farmers Business Network
So, Ye Who Had The Most People At An Inauguration Ever, I say with a smile that we are gonna’ come after yo’ boodie like a northern Michigan mosquito if you and Sonny start eliminating these good programs that support family farmers and regenerative, high-vibe food systems. The country doesn’t benefit by four companies controlling 80% of the beef supply, three controlling 90% of the grain trade,** and huge corporate agribusiness squeezing independent farmers to the point of desperation. If Sonny returns us to the days where our best efforts subsidize the hell out of corn and soy, while labeling vegetables and fruits “specialty crops,” we all remain your little fat piggies. No, our food future is small and mid-size farms, rural and urban alike, growing more fruits and vegetables, and only YOU can fix it!
Law and Order, let me close by saying we are watching. Strengthening our REAL FOOD system is homeland security at it’s finest.
There are things that unite us more than divide us and food is one of them.
To that end, say hello to a better tasting party in town; and we serve more than tea; nonpartisan citizens joining in support of good federal food policy and good food jobs.
We might call ourselves the Food Party…and what do ya’ think of this tagline?
The Food Party
- We like to stir things up
Readers: The time is NOW for citizenry. Choose your issue and make yourself heard. If it’s food, there’s a study-action group forming - Fed Food & Farm Bill 2018 Indivisible. Citizen foodies gathering to study federal food policies and plan coordinated responses against legislation and executive orders that only think Big. If you are interested in food issues, and working for healthier regional food systems, please join this all-volunteer effort. Let’s build teams across the country, improve the food system, and savor the action! Email for more information.
Listen to Politics and the Dinner Table, CUESA’s super panel on political issues affecting food and agriculture, like climate change, immigration law, and trade partnerships, and learn how you can help.
* “Walmart” - Cool Cuisine - Taking the Bite Out of Global Warming, Stec, CTM / Cordero PhD., with Phil Howard PhD., 2008. In 2017, Dr Howard adds Heinz Kraft to this list.
** Food Inc. 2009