RELEASE: Plate of the Union Stresses Importance of Good Food Policy to Presidential Hopefuls


Press Contacts:

Claire Benjamin DiMattina
Food Policy Action Education Fund

Ja-Rei Wang
Union of Concerned Scientists

Navina Khanna
HEAL Food Alliance

Plate of the Union Stresses Importance of Good Food Policy to Presidential Hopefuls

Washington, DC (December 16, 2015) — Plate of the Union sent a letter to Republican and Democratic presidential candidates today sharing recent bi-partisan polling on food policy and requesting a meeting to discuss the urgent need for comprehensive food system reform.

The Plate of the Union campaign is seeking to educate the candidates on the perils of the U.S. food system, and the need for systematic reform.

“The next president has the opportunity to strengthen America’s families by taking action to fix the food system,” said Navina Khanna, director of the HEAL Food Alliance, “The truth is, the bi-partisan majority of Americans want equal access to healthy, affordable food, and they want to see political leadership on these issues.”

Plate of the Union is a collaborative campaign driven by Food Policy Action, Food Policy Action Education Fund, the Union of Concerned Scientists, and the HEAL Food Alliance to raise the voice of Americans who care about food and farm issues during this election season. More can be found at

Full Text of Letter:

Dear Candidate,

America’s food system is out of balance.

For decades, agriculture and food policies have created a food system that serves the interests of a select few at the expense of millions of hard-working families across the country. Current policy puts profits before our health and continues subsidies that help keep junk food cheap and drive up the rate of chronic, diet related diseases, effectively forcing taxpayers to pay twice: first to support the production of unhealthy food, and then for the related health and environmental costs.

The goal of this country’s food system should be to produce healthy, affordable food that is accessible for all Americans, that protects our health, workers, environment and keeps local farmers farming and on their land.  Voters want the next President to take bold steps to fix our food system.

Earlier this year, the HEAL Food Alliance, Union of Concerned Scientists, Food Policy Action and Food Policy Action Education Fund launched Plate of the Union, a grassroots campaign, giving a voice to the millions of Americans who want to see significant food system reform.

We have a unique opportunity to save taxpayers billions of dollars, significantly improve public health, safeguard our natural resources, and provide a more equitable food system for all Americans.

Americans across party lines agree that our food system needs to change.

Plate of the Union recently unveiled new polling, conducted by bi-partisan teams at Lake Research Partners and Bellwether Strategies that makes a compelling case for the next President to offer a comprehensive approach to fix our food and farm policy.

The polling results are clear: an overwhelming bipartisan majority of Americans believe our antiquated food system should be reformed to protect workers, our environment, and ensure access for all to affordable, healthy food. A detailed memo outlining the findings is included with this letter. Among the highlights:

Broken Federal Policies – 81% of voters are very or somewhat concerned that the Federal government recommends a diet of 50 percent fruits and vegetables while a fraction of farm subsidies go toward fruit and vegetable production.

  • Our Children’s Health – 81% of voters are very concerned that a third of today’s children will develop type-2 diabetes, and 69% are very concerned that today’s children are expected to live shorter lives than their parents.  Both of these statements were a powerful call to action for policies that would improve access to healthy foods for all families.
  • Farming for the Future – 62% of voters across party lines strongly favor government incentives that encourage sustainable farming practices that protect the environment.
  • Fair Wages for Honest Work – 75% of voters are very or somewhat concerned that five of the eight worst paying jobs in America are in the food system.
  • Food System Reform is Important to Diverse Segments of the Population – Young voters, African Americans, Latinos, and unmarried women are all particularly supportive of changes to the food system that would promote better access to healthy, affordable foods.

We strongly encourage you to test these messages through your own, ongoing campaign research.

Your campaign is fighting to build an economy for tomorrow and strengthen America’s families. The next president can make huge strides in this direction by taking action to fix our food system. If elected President, we urge you to listen to a bipartisan majority of Americans by coming forward with a winning plan that stands up for working families and makes a commitment to healthy communities where all Americans have equal access to healthy, affordable food.

As leadership from Plate of the Union, we request a meeting with you and your advisors to discuss the urgent need for comprehensive food system reform and what steps you can propose to achieve a better food system for all Americans. To schedule a meeting, please contact: Mike Lavender;

We look forward to hearing from you.


Ricardo Salvador                              Claire Benjamin DiMattina                      Navina Khanna
Union of Concerned Scientists      Food Policy Action Education Fund       HEAL Food Alliance

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