At the October 20th meeting, the OFPC agreed to sign on to California’s Food Day Farm Bill Petition. The petition has been signed by numerous organizations and individuals across the state. It is spearheaded by organizations including the Environmental Working Group, where OFPC member, Kari Hamerschlag, works; Center for Science in the Public Interest, Roots of Change, Prevention Institute, California Center for Public Health Advocacy, and more. The petition will be forwarded to Governor Jerry Brown in an effort to make local, sustainable food production, nutrition, research and conservation programs a top priority for the 2012 Farm Bill. The Congressional Budget Office is set to release recommendations for the Farm Bill expenditures on November 1 and Congress will announce Farm Bill budget on Dec 23. With only a few days until the Budget Office announces its decisions for the Farm Bill fiscal delegations, people from all over the state, and country, signed on to Food Day’s petition to prioritize sustainable, affordable food production and distribution.
The US held its first National Food Day on Monday October 24, just one week after World Food Day, on October 16th. Food Day was created by the Center for Science in the Public Interest under the pretext for 6 goals:
1. Reduce diet-related disease by promoting safe, healthy foods.
2. Support sustainable farms and limit subsidies to big agribusiness
3. Expand access to food and alleviate hunger
4. Protect the environment and animals by reforming factory farms
5. Promote health by curbing junk-food marketing to kids
6. Support fair conditions for food and farm workers
Recognizing the need for reform in all aspects of food, from the planting of the seed to consumption of meals, Food Day offers people from across the country to sign on to the Eat Real agenda. CA Food Day representatives sponsored a petition to the 2012 Farm Bill to send directly to Governor Brown. The proposed items shift the current focus away from industrial farms and corn and wheat subsidies. Instead, it aims to shift the center to the local. Starting off with small investments in rural development, conservation projects, and organic, small-scale farms , the bill goes on to include the importance of local production to improve local economies, ensure equal opportunity employment, fair wages, and even extends to improving the population’s health, decreasing spending on healthcare throughout the nation. The CA Food Day Farm Bill recommendations were given to Governor Jerry Brown and will hopefully make their way to the top of the list to be presented before the US Congress Farm Bill planning process. As the largest provider of agriculture in the US, California’s actions ring strong amongst its residents and across the country. Movements and petitions have been sprouting at grassroots levels across the nation to give farmers the opportunity to grow a wide variety of produce that works with the local landscape, provides them and their workers with a sustainable income, and is safe and affordable to all.
The petition is an article that voices the concerns and needs for people from all tiers and aspects of the food system. It is a unifying document that addresses issues that affect every individual from the every step of the process. The action to sign on by the OFPC goes beyond the unification of Oakland professionals, but extends across the state to create a much needed bond for a new food system. The action to unite across localities, class, sector, etc within the state of California will make a mark upon the food movement in the United States to impact national decisions and even, international eyes. Bring your voice to your local Occupy movement and decolonize the food system: take it back to the local community and earth.