With 400 cafes and restaurants across the country, Bon Appétit chefs must source a significant volume of local foods from sustainable farms to feed our guests every day. As joyfully as we approach this task, the current American agricultural system is unfortunately designed to make our jobs much harder. Despite the recent boom in sustainable and organic foods, it is no secret that small local farms and artisans who rely on them often struggle to keep their farms alive and make a decent living from the land; therefore, for a company such as ours, and for millions of Americans, access to an abundant supply of local foods remains a challenge.
Why is this so? Farm subsidies are almost entirely dedicated to industrial farming, even as more and more chefs and consumers shift their purchasing preferences to foods grown in their own communities, obesity and diabetes make national headlines, and school nutrition is in the crosshairs of parents and health professionals alike.
As the Farm Bill debate faces votes on the House floor, we at Bon Appetit feel that issues at stake are at the heart of our national desire to reform the food system: we believe that the time has come for the Farm Bill to adjust accordingly to the new reality of Americans who are deeply concerned about how their food is grown, who grows it and what affect is has on local economies and the environment. It’s time for a Food Bill that provides sufficient funding for sustainable agriculture, local farms and local food systems, fresh, healthy and nutritious foods for schools and communities with limited access, and environmental conservation measures for farmland.
It is only with a new funding structure for the farm bill that local farmers and artisans can begin to match the demand for the new American food of choice: healthy, local, and sustainable.
If you’d like to get in touch with Speaker Nancy Pelosi about the farm bill up for debate this week, you can post a comment on this website:
Or you can call or write her district office:
District Office – 450 Golden Gate Ave. – 14th Floor – San Francisco, CA 94102 – (415) 556-4862
– Maisie Greenawalt, Director of Communications & Strategic Initiatives