Food Politics

Food Politics (fka Plant Power): Good Food Choices for You and Your Planet

The program is co-led by led by Jen Underhill and Julie Kessel.

Food and politics is a BIG DEMOCRACY issue!

Think about this…

  • The healthcare and pharma lobbies want you to think that drugs and devices are the answer to your medical woes
  • The energy lobby wants you to think that they are for renewable sources of energy
  • The Agribusiness lobby wants you to think they are for sustainable farming and humane animal consumption

And they pay a LOT of special interest money to keep you thinking you have limited personal power to take control of your health, carbon footprint, and environment.

Our Mission

The mission of our project is to save ourselves, our planet and our democracy one bite at a time. The project aligns with three of the Leagues positions – promoting individual healthcare affordability, supporting environmental sustainability and eliminating the corrupting influence of money in politics.

This year, our primary goals are”:

  • to educate people about the impact of their food choices on the corrupting influence of money in politics, personal health and environmental impacts;
  • to find like-minded people and organizations; to empower individuals to take personal action;
  • perhaps most importantly, to have fun and eat good food.

 

Why Do Food Politics Matter?

In the United States, 40% of adults and 20% of children and adolescents are obese. Making it worse, inequities in health care disproportionally impact people of color, with black people suffering twice that risk.

Even when controlled for economic resources, Black Americans suffer from serious food-related health disparities, including high rates of infant mortality, diabetes, heart disease and stroke and their attendant consequences.

The St. Petersburg connection to these issues is well documented.

  • The 2018 Pinellas County Community Health Assessment identified 5 areas of health priorities that are directly impacted by food issues: food insecurity, cancer, childhood obesity, diabetes prevention and helping children and families to live healthfully.
  • Findings from Engage St Pete (and other studies, such as the RAND Foundation) show that those with less economic security report lower levels of health and are less engaged with their government. It’s hard to be an active participant in democracy if you are home sick!

Individually all of us can improve our own health and the health of the planet by making different food choices.

Only collectively, however, can we combat the undue influence of big money in politics.

Helping people to understand how food shapes their destiny and empowering them to make healthier decisions regarding food is a critical cog in the wheel of an engaged citizenry, and helps to reduce health and economic disparity and create a more participatory democracy.

We hope that you will join our team, come to our events and support our program. The health of our community is at stake. By educating and empowering, we can help the citizens of St. Petersburg get well, be well and engage well.

Examples of our activities may include things such as watching some movies, having some discussions, creating some info sheets and forums, helping people figure out their food carbon footprint, and going on some food and urban gardening outings.