Happy Ag Day!

On this day, we celebrate agriculture's abundance ... and the subsidies that determine what is grown. As this cartoon, which is featured in Eat Drink Vote, reminds us, the small farmer is being overshadowed by big agricultural companies that influence how government subsidies are allocated.

Here's a link to the day's events that have been organized by the group behind Ag Day - The Agriculture Council of America. Notice anything about the events? Yep - they are all in Washington, D.C. Not many farmers there. Guess that the farmers will have to celebrate elsewhere.
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Lethal But Legal

People familiar with Eat Drink Vote may also be interested in a new book by Nick Freudenberg, the director of Hunter College's Food Policy Center. The book is Lethal But Legal: Corporations, Consumption and Public Health. In this book, Freudenberg explores how profits and public health are dealt with in a variety of industries including alcohol, cigarettes, guns, cars as well as food and beverages.

Marion Nestle provided a blurb for the book:
"Lethal But Legal is a superb, magnificently written, courageous, and thoroughly compelling exposé of how corporations selling cigarettes, guns, cars, drugs, booze, and food and beverages enrich themselves at the expense of public health. Even more important, Freudenberg tells us how we can organize to counter corporate power and achieve a healthier and more sustainable environment. This book should be required reading for anyone who cares about promoting health, protecting democratic institutions, and achieving a more equitable and just society."

So, Lethal But Legal reminds us that a food environment that is healthier for people and the planet is within our reach if we vote with our votes and with our forks.
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Coming to a Mall Near You: Fresh Food!

farmersfridge_red

While the passage of the food bill reminds us about the challenges of changing the food environment, it is nice to see how an entrepreneur can overcome the obstacles and marketing of the established food industry. Farmer's Fridge, founded by Luke Sanders, is a fresh food "kiosk" in two Chicago locations with plans to expand.

Farmers Fridge aims to provide food that is good for you and for the planet. Their menu shows that food that is good for you does not have to be overly processed or loaded with sugar. This is a great opportunity to vote with your fork if you live in Chicago! Bon Apetit!

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Rodale News Post GMO Cartoon Slideshow

Yes GMOs are political ... and they can be funny and thought-provoking as well.

Rodale News has posted a slideshow of eleven cartoons about GMOs that are featured in Eat Drink Vote. We hope that you'll check out the cartoons and share them with your friends.

And - a reminder ... the current cartoon in the Caption Contest combines GMOs plus hot dogs ... a perfect cartoon pairing. The only thing missing is your caption!
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Trick or treat?!

Halloween is a wonderful example of some of what is discussed in Eat Drink Vote: it combines marketing to children with support for a product (i.e., candy) that depends heavily on government subsidy for its ingredients. And - the marketing works!

Here are a few pieces of information picked up in a quick perusal of the web:
- 10% (or nearly $2 billion )of the annual $24 billion candy sales occur in the few days before Halloween. (Source: Dailyinfographic.com)
- This includes approximately 90 million pounds of chocolate candy - which is nearly twice the 48 million pounds of chocolate sold at Valentine's Day. (Source: Nielsen Wire)
- Total money spent for Halloween-related candy and merchandise is growing - quickly. Sales are projected to total $13 billion in 2013, up from $3.29 billion in 2005 - a whooping increase of nearly 300% in just a few years. (Source: National Retail Federation)

So, if you want to be part of the change in the food movement, you might want to keep this in mind, if not for this year than for future years. There is a really good chance that the candy in your grocery store got there this year - and probably next year as well - due to marketing targeted to consumers and retailers as well as ongoing lobbying support for ingredients in candy. A question to ask yourself might be: Is the Halloween candy a treat for me or for the manufacturers of the candy?
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Farm Bill to be Voted on This Week

Of course ... Washington being Washington, this may change. But the size and scope of the legislation is the clearest example of the pervasive influence that politics has on our food. The bill was broken into two parts. The first, which deals primarily with agriculture, was passed in July. Up now: Food assistance, otherwise known as SNAP or food stamps.

Eat Drink Vote reminds us that voting is an important step in the creation of a food system that is healthier for people and the planet. You might want to check out how your rep votes on the legislation. Plus, each time you make a food or beverage purchase, you cast a vote for a food system that perpetuates the status quo or toward one that is healthier for people and planet.

If you'd like to know more about food policy, we invite you to check out these groups:
Food Democracy Now
Food Research and Action Center
Food Tank

Groups working on other food-related issues may be found here.

And see here for news about the so-called Monsanto Protection Act.
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Tomato Paste is a Vegetable

Quoting from the Introduction to Eat Drink Vote "... A dab of tomato paste on pizza now counts as a vegetable in school lunches. Kids get fewer servings of real vegetables in those lunches. Food companies now know that Congress will take care of them if they don't like federal regulations. And the public now knows that no regulation - no matter how strongly recommended by nutrition and health experts and supported by research - is too small to be overturned by Congress to please corporate constituents."

This helps to introduce the key idea of Eat Drink Vote: "Because everyone eats, everyone has a vested interest - a stake - in how food is produced, sold, and consumed, and therefore, in how food issues are interpreted."

Individuals, nutrition and health experts, government agencies, the food industry - from production to consumption .... all have opinions about food and food politics. How the opinions are expressed, heard and acted upon determines what appears on your plate - and on your pizza.

You can't stop eating so here's to knowing a bit more about how the tomato sauce might get on your pizza and to having a bigger say in if it gets there at all.

Vote with your time: If this interest you, here is a group you may want to check-out.

And here is a list of other groups working on this issue and others.
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ACGA Attendee Sarah Vradenburg Wins Signed Copy

There are so many great groups working hard to help individuals vote with their forks. One is the American Community Gardening Association. From their website: "The Mission of the American Community Gardening Association is to build community by increasing and enhancing community gardening and greening across the United States and Canada."

Eat Drink Vote attended ACGA's recent conference in Seattle and previewed a black and white galley copy of the book. We also offered the chance for an attendee to win a signed copy of the four-color book upon its Sept. 3 publication.

Today, we are happy to announce that Sarah Vradenburg is the winner!

When learning of her win, Sarah responded "Thank you so much!! I have many people who would love to have one, at least once I show them my copy. Believe it or not, lots of my friends eat, drink AND vote!! Imagine that. Again, thanks. I am thrilled to win something on topics so dear to my heart." We couldn't have said it better ourselves.

Vote with your time: Here is a list of other groups that might interest you.
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