The Case for Presidential Action to Reform our Farm and Food System

Published Dec 7, 2016

The current food system isn't working for Americans.

  • Too many of us lack access to affordable, healthy food, as evidenced by sharply climbing rates of diet-related illnesses like diabetes and hypertension, especially in communities of color.
  • Mid-sized family farms are dwindling, rural communities are hurting, and food system jobs are among the lowest-paying in the nation.
  • Outdated industrial food production methods are exhausting soil, causing costly environmental damage, and leaving farmers ever more vulnerable to climate change impacts like flooding and drought.

These problems are all made worse by the tangled mess of current federal food and farm policy, in which policies often work against each other. For example, on the one hand we spend considerable resources trying to encourage people to eat healthier food—and on the other, we invest billions of dollars in junk food by funneling the lion's share of farm subsidies to commodity crop producers.

The president could play a key leadership role in transforming this dysfunctional food system. Here are some of the ways this could benefit Americans:

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