Food Policy Scorecard 2015
Before the food we eat hits our kitchen tables, or our grocery stores, it is impacted by policy. Federal policies help determine what crops are grown, what methods farmers use, how animals are treated, and ultimately, whether healthy, affordable food will be available to all Americans.
Our food system is out of balance. The quality and affordability of food is too often determined by your zip code. Half of all adults in the U.S. – 117 million people –suffer from one or more chronic diseases such as diabetes, heart disease, or even cancer. The medical costs of diabetes alone reached $176 billion in 2012. Today’s children are expected to live shorter lives than their parents, thanks to the spike in rates of these diet-related diseases. Given that we know these diseases are greatly reduced by a balanced diet with plenty of fresh fruits and vegetables, the quality and affordability of these kinds of foods is a matter of national health and security.
Food Policy Action and Food Policy Action Education Fund along with partners recently released nationwide, bipartisan research which takes a closer look at how American’s view our our food system. What we found was staggering. Overwhelmingly, voters do not believe that our current food system is meeting the country’s needs. Stronger food policies are needed to ensure that all Americans have equal access to healthy, affordable food, regardless of where they live. 53 percent of likely voters agreed that too many Americans can’t afford healthy food in their communities, and better food policy is needed to ensure that everyone has access to nutritious food.
The current food system didn’t get here by accident—it was put in place by policy decisions, subsidies, and incentives over the last forty years. Despite the increased demand for healthier alternatives, consumers still have trouble finding healthy food at an affordable price, and family farmers struggle to make ends meet. It’s time to ask why, and demand better from our elected officials.
Americans are hungry for better food choices, and it’s up to us to hold Congress accountable. Today, Food Policy Action released the National Food Policy Scorecard: 2015 Progress Report, grading Congress on their action, and inaction, on major food policy reforms. In 2015, Congress had the opportunity to use their vote for good food policy, and cosponsor bills that put forth positive solutions for our food system. All too often, the majority of our elected officials fell short.
The truth is, if you eat, these policies affect you. The good news is that consumers and the marketplace are way ahead of Washington, but your elected leaders need to hear from you. We hope you will use this year’s scorecard as a tool to start a conversation with your member of Congress or Senator. Tell them that these issues matter to you, that you are paying close attention, and that you are ready for bold action to fix our food system.