Like many sustainable food advocates, my colleagues at GRACE and I often encourage others to promote the transition to a more responsible food system by “voting with their forks” (i.e., buying foods from sustainable farms and avoiding industrially produced alternatives). It’s an important action, and one we'll continue to advocate. But there’s also something to be said for promoting a sustainable food system by “voting with our ballots,” effecting change old-school democracy style. The challenge though, is that it’s tough to keep track of all the slippery politicians and their actual voting records on various food and agricultural policies.
Enter Food Policy Action. Today, this brand new organization gave us a big Happy Food Day present by launching the National Food Policy Scorecard, which shows how each member of Congress voted on key food and agriculture policies in 2012, and provides a score for each politician based on the extent to which his/her votes promoted safe, nutritious, healthful, affordable and accessible food. (Policy wonks can delve deep into the lists of food/ag Senate votes and House votes from which the scores are derived, and take note of significant pending food policies.) The Scorecard enables you to find your representatives using an interactive map, searching by zip code or by perusing this giant list of every member of the House and Senate. (For extra fun times, you can sort the list of politicians by score to find the Congressional Food Heroes and the policymakers who have…other priorities.)
We're super excited about this project, and delighted that a concerted, nationwide effort to hold legislators accountable for their food and agriculture policy stances has finally come to fruition. Make sure to take a look at the Scorecard before you vote.