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Comparing the Clinton versus Trump Platforms
John Robbins, of the Food Revolution Network
Condensed by Sylvia Thompson
Whatever our political persuasion, each and every one of us eats food, has a stake in how healthy our food is, how it's produced and grown. This impacts our health, the economy, the environment, and our national security, and has to be considered among the dominant issues facing our nation and the world today.
At the Food Revolution Network, we've undertaken a serious inquiry into what kinds of policies we might expect from the two leading Presidential candidates.
In this inquiry about food and agriculture, we've researched:
1) their statements
2) their party platforms
3) their histories, both personal and political,
4) the funding they've each received
5) the advisors they've surrounded themselves with
6) who will head their committees
7) we've uncovered some extremely potent and little-
We spend more on health care than any other nation:
Diabetes, diseases of the heart, hypertension, dementia, and some cancers = over a trillion dollars.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention tells us that
of the nation's health care costs are preventable, with a healthier diet of fruits and vegetables.
The Department of Agriculture also
encourages a diet of fruits and vegetables, while
spending billions of dollars,
corn and soy fed to livestock
and is also turned into ultra-processed foods, (like high fructose corn syrup) in
more than half of the calories
of the American diet.
Food Policies We Can Expect from Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump
Supplemental Nutritional Assistance Program
. (SNAP) i.e., food stamps, almost half go to low-income children, and disabled people and senior citizens.
's platform will protect SNAP, and double SNAP benefits when used to buy local fruits and vegetables.
's platform, breaking SNAP away from the USDA and the farm bill making it
more vulnerable to budget cuts
to reduce the SNAP program.
Growing food requires a stable climate and ample water. A volatile climate of heat waves, droughts and flooding, puts our food security at risk.
s calling for a climate summit in the first 100 days. The
2016 Democratic platform on climate change
is the strongest ever issued in this country.
Donald calls climate change a Chinese hoax and, intends to rescind the Paris Treaty which195 nations pledged their best efforts to slow global warming. The Republican platform plans to eliminate the Environmental Protection Agency - which protects our food supply. It would lead to an increase in the use of dangerous pesticides and increase rates of cancer, birth defects, etc.
Clinton's Key Food Advisors
one of Clinton's possible Vice-Presidential running mates: Former Governor of Iowa, and for 8 years, secretary of the US Department of Agriculture.
, his deputy secretary of Agriculture, support organic agriculture, farmer's markets, family farms, sustainable agriculture, and local food production.
But, Vilsack has often been a supporter of big Ag and of GMO agriculture
. As Governor of Iowa, he received the "
Governor of the Year
" award from the trade group representing Monsanto and the other GMO companies.
A Hillary Clinton administration would, like secretary Vilsack, endorse and support genetically modified food. She gave a keynote address to the
2014 Biotechnology Industry Organization conference
in San Diego. And she hired a former Monsanto lobbyist, Jerry Crawford, to help run her campaign in Iowa.
At the same time, rumors circulating on the Internet
that Hillary Clinton once served on the Monsanto board of directors.
She did not.
And that Monsanto and other biotechnology companies have been major funders of the Clinton campaign.
There is absolutely no evidence that this is the case.
Hillary Clinton has spoken in
support of some kind of GMO labeling.
She did serve on the Walmart board of directors from 1986 to 1992. Walmart, the largest private sector employer in the country, refuses to pay their workers a living wage. Walmart, largest seller of organic food in the US, sourcing products from industrial-scale factory farms from China.
Hillary's allegiance to big ag, big banks, and big industry, is disturbing.
But as President, she would seek to uphold local foods, farmer's markets, and better childhood nutrition. She
supports the Farm Bill conservation programs
that help farmers reduce the use of chemicals. She has a long opposed the routine use of antibiotics in meat production. When she was U.S. senator from New York,
she led efforts
to prohibit the USDA from buying chickens injected with antibiotics for the federal school lunch program. And she co-sponsored legislation to protect animal rights earning a
from The Humane Society Legislative Fund.
One of her close advisors on food and health
Dr. Dean Ornish
has spent almost 40 years proving, for the first time, that a whole foods, plant strong diet can reverse the progression of severe coronary heart disease and other chronic diseases, without drugs or surgery. His program using diet and other lifestyle factors to reverse heart disease and other chronic conditions is the only such program to be covered by Medicare and major insurance companies.
Dr. Ornish is one of the world's most powerful advocates for healthy eating, and I find it to be very encouraging that he's been an advisor to Hillary Clinton, as well as a physician consultant to former President Bill Clinton, for more than twenty years. In 1993, shortly after President Bill Clinton took office, Hillary Clinton asked Dr. Ornish to train the chefs at The White House, Air Force One, and Camp David to cook more healthful foods for them.
Regardless of how you feel about Bill Clinton's political views, or even his character, it is a fact that his current diet is an inspiring example for millions of people worldwide, and he
credits a whole foods, plant-based diet,
prescribed for him by Dr. Dean Ornish, with saving his life and transforming his health.
seriously to eat a healthful diet. And the Clinton family has been personally and profoundly impacted by the significant role that diet plays in health outcomes. I think we could expect a President Hillary Clinton to bring this consciousness into her food policy positions.
And while Michelle Obama is deservedly famous for planting an organic vegetable garden on the White House lawn, it's not as well known that Hillary as First Lady, kept her own organic vegetable garden elsewhere on the White House grounds.
Many of those who want our food supply to be healthy and grown sustainably are deeply disappointed by Hillary Clinton's uncritical support for GMOs, and her close ties to companies like Walmart and Monsanto. But it's also true that her administration would likely be supportive of some of the efforts to improve the quality and the healthfulness of the food eaten in the U.S. We could certainly expect concerted efforts to further develop the programs
Michelle Obama has initiated
to make school lunches healthier, and to reduce obesity.
Donald Trump's Food Policies
Now, what about her opponent, Donald J. Trump? The
Iowa Farm Bureau sent a series of questions to the candidates. One of these questions asked:
Do you support the use of biotechnology in food products and oppose efforts to require mandatory labeling for foods simply because they
contain ingredients derived from biotechnology?
Yes that he supports GMO foods, and that he opposes mandatory labeling.
Senator Pat Roberts of Kansas is the foremost opponent of GMO labeling in the U.S. Senate, and member of Trump's agriculture advisory committee
and the primary sponsor of what has been called the DARK Act, the Deny Americans the Right to Know Act (makes it impossible for states to enact legislation requiring labeling of GMO foods.)
Donald Trump's Chosen Food Advisors
A key role on his Agricultural and Rural Advisory Committee is Texas Agriculture Commissioner
Sid Miller's first act, as the newly elected Texas Ag Commissioner in 2015, was to make clear that a policy that had been in effect in Texas since 2004 was now defunct and that there would be no limit on the amount of deep fried foods, soda pop, cupcakes, and similar foods that public schools in the state of Texas could serve to children.
Another member of Trump's Agriculture Advisory Committee is Iowa Governor Terry Branstad, who signed into law the nation's first Ag-Gag legislation that make criminals out of undercover investigators who expose cruelty to animals, corporate corruption, dangerous working conditions, environmental violations, or food safety concerns at factory farms.
Trump has also
Charles Herbster a Nebraska agribusiness tycoon who
owns a cattle-breeding company
, as well as another company that sells pesticides and chemical fertilizers to be Chairman of his Agricultural Advisory Committee. He's also a major funder and steering committee
member of Ag America
, whose other major funders include Monsanto and DuPont.
Another man who might play a major role in a Donald Trump administration: Todd Staples a former Texas Agriculture Commissioner who resigned in the middle of his term to become president of the Texas Oil and Gas Association. He
after a "Meatless Monday" policy was adopted in a few Texas schools. Staples wrote a
that the goal of the Meatless Monday initiative is to force all American children to be vegetarians. He called the very suggestion that people eat less meat "
Trump's Agricultural Advisory Committee. The Humane Society of the United States
"a rogues gallery of anti-animal crusaders," and "a show of overt hostility toward the cause of animal protection."
What can we learn from the people who might play in a Trump administration?
I think it's clear that his Department of Agriculture would be filled with champions for chemical based agriculture, GMOs, and factory farming; that industrial meat producers would have one of their own in charge of the USDA. And that protecting corporate profits would take total priority over protecting the environment or the health of the American people.
Efforts to improve working conditions for farm workers, or to alleviate some of the cruelty to animals in factory farms, would be met, not with thoughtful consideration, but rather with overt hostility.
And if Donald Trump made good on his promise to abolish the EPA, then we would see a massive increase in the amounts and toxicity of pesticides sprayed on our foods.
The SNAP program that this year kept
more than 45 million Americans
, many of them children, from going hungry, would be greatly reduced, and its very existence possibly placed in jeopardy. The numbers of people going hungry in America would increase by tens of millions.
Programs to encourage healthy school lunches or Meatless Mondays would be violently opposed. Junk food companies would fear no restrictions on their efforts to sell ever more disease causing food in schools, hospitals and other public institutions. Efforts to improve the health value of food in America, or the sustainability of our agricultural systems, or to label GMOs, or to reduce the use of antibiotics in industrial meat production, would find no sympathy in a Trump White House. Measures to fight climate change and ensure our future food security would be ridiculed. Efforts to help Americans eat more fruits and vegetables, and fewer ultra processed foods, would be sabotaged.
The consequences to the health of Americans would be dire. Antibiotics would become increasingly impotent against bacterial infections. The food Americans eat would become increasingly unhealthy, and our food production systems increasingly dependent on toxic chemicals. We'd subsidize only the least healthy
foods, and so the price of fruits and vegetables, already high, would climb out of the reach of ever more people. Our rates of heart disease, cancer, dementia, obesity, birth defects, and many other serious food-related diseases would rise to levels never before imagined in this country. The costs of treating these illnesses, which are already bankrupting families and businesses across the land, would skyrocket. We would likely see huge increases in the numbers of obese people, the numbers of sick people, and the numbers of people living in poverty.
So, now, where does that leave us?
There are many things people might not like about Hillary Clinton, or a Hillary Clinton administration. But I think there are also things to appreciate and count on in if she were to be elected. A Donald Trump administration, on the other hand, would likely become a complete disaster for the aspirations of millions of people for healthy lives, healthy food, clean air and water, and a livable planet.
I believe that love of life and love of this earth are not the possessions of any political party. I know many Republicans who believe that being a truly committed conservative today means protecting the environment, and who strive to practice restraint, humility, and good stewardship of the natural world.
And it was a Republican president, Teddy Roosevelt, who said:
It's true that Republicans and Democrats today disagree about many things. But, the fact, today, is that we are all dependent for our survival on a life support system. We call it the environment. Without the resources and basic functions that a healthy environment can provide, we would be unable to feed ourselves, have no viable economy, and we would have no quality of life. Without fertile soil, and a stable climate, and reliable amounts of clean water, we cannot grow healthy food. If we poison our fields, we poison ourselves.
I do not identify as either a Republican or a Democrat. But I do think, if you care about food and how it's grown, if you care about the health of our population and the health of our planet, if you want to protect the world and not prey on it, then in this election, the choice is clear.
This election has not happened yet. And if you feel, as I do, that the stakes are extremely high, then this is a critical time to make your voice heard. It matters how you vote, it matters what you say, and it matters what you eat. This is a time
to know that your voice is needed. Each of us may feel like a drop in the bucket. But together, we can turn the tide of history.
Thank you for listening. Thank you for caring. And thank you for taking action on behalf of all that you love.
John Robbins is President of the Food Revolution Network and bestselling author of Diet for a New America, The Food Revolution, and many other books that have sold millions of copies and been translated into 30 languages. He has made hundreds of local and national radio and television appearances, spoken in person to hundreds of thousands of people, founded EarthSave International, and received dozens of awards for his work on behalf of healthy people and a healthy planet. Find out more and
Join the Food Revolution here.
Join us and Take Action!
No matter who gets elected, the next president should take action to reform our food system. The Food Revolution Network recently joined the non-partisan Plate of the Union campaign, working to raise the voices of millions of Americans who care about food and farm issues, and how related policies influence our health, environment and economy. We want everyone to have equal access to healthy, affordable food that is fair to workers, good for the environment, and keeps farmers on the land.
You can take action on the Plate of the Union campaign here.
Join us at the Food Market where we will serve up taster portions of our Chinese Pizza:
Sprouted Seed Crusts
MacNut Spread & Cilantro
Other items for sale.
COMING SOON: FIRST EVER
Sylvia will show how to make ZUCCHINI FETTUCCINE MACNUT ALFREDO & MARINATED MUSHROOMS.
GREENS & VINES JOINS
THE BLUE ZONES
In the Manoa to Kakaako district. Venue to be determined.
(People come together to walk, talk, eat, learn about health)
Tuesday, September 27, 2016
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