Over the past century, the advent of modern farming techniques, the corporatization of agriculture, the use of petrochemical-based fertilizers, and the subsidizing and encouragement of the growth of genetically modified foods have collectively created a poisonous brew that is now affecting our health and well-being in critical ways.
The function of protecting America’s food supply was given in 1930 to an agency called The Food and Drug Administration (FDA). Most of us have grown up believing the FDA to be a watchdog on the look-out for threats to our health and well-being.
In fact, the deregulatory trend that began in the 1980s as a financial boon to corporations has resulted in what is now a drastically underfunded and under-resourced FDA. More significantly, it has been turned into a toothless tiger with drastically diminished authority to actually put a stop to the kinds of abuses our government should be protecting us from.
A way-too-cozy relationship between the US government and its corporate benefactors has become the order of the day. In what is commonly called a “revolving door” practice, former corporate leaders now routinely move into positions of governmental authority.
Many of our health problems, including obesity, can be traced to the corruption of our food supply. We experience a lack of vitality in our food and thus, in our bodies, from processed foods containing poor-quality calories, few if any nutrients, and the residue of poisons from chemical farming.
We heavily subsidize unhealthy mass-produced foods like corn syrup and hydrogenated oils, when we need to be supporting the production of healthy, whole foods, making them more affordable and available. We must also update our nation's outdated nutrition guidelines and our food pyramid, which have not caught up to the science of what constitutes healthy food.
While its manufacturers claim that GMOs increase yield and, thus, help feed the starving of the world, scientists question whether that assertion is true. In fact, GMOs contaminate our gene pool, can be poisonous to birds and other living things, and have led to the production of increasingly dangerous herbicides such as Roundup.
Roundup is linked with sterility, hormone disruption, birth defects and cancer. It has been shown to cause birth defects in amphibians, embryonic deaths and endocrine disruption, and organ damage in animals even in very low doses.
Due to these and other concerns, over 39 (as of 2016) countries have banned the production of genetically modified foods. Yet the United States, one of only 26 countries that grow GMO crops, has over 180 million acres of GMO crops under cultivation. More than 70% of all U.S. cropland is already planted with GMO crops, and 70% - 80% of all foods sold in the US now contain GMOs – especially processed and non-organic foods.
We should at least know when we are eating food made from GMOs. While the Big 6 pesticide makers – particularly Monsanto and Dupont – spent tens of millions of dollars to defeat GMO labeling propositions in both California and Washington State, as president I would seek to limit their power. I would work to label all GMOs, and to strengthen consumer protection by the FDA and USDA.
A Williamson administration will support local, small family farmers and ranchers far more than we currently do. They have been especially hard hit by the current administration's trade policies, as well as by the impacts of climate change. My presidency will support regenerative, sustainable agricultural practices that not only have highly profitable yields, but can also help turn the tide on climate change.
Once again, until we have limited the influence of moneyed interests on the functioning of our government, we will always be fighting for the interests of the American people against encroachment by huge multinational corporate interests such as Big Ag, chemical companies and so forth.
We are no longer a functioning democracy when money gets to talk more than we do.
Republicans in Washington are also currently trying to rid the United States of food stamp programs. For many of our children, our disabled, our elderly, and even members of our military, food stamps make a daily difference in their lives. The idea of stealing from the poor in order to make it easier for the rich is not, in my mind, the way to cut America’s deficit. A moral deficit is as serious as a financial one.
Furthermore, the mistreatment of animals is damaging to the American soul. As custodians of this planet, we are intended to care for the animals that share the land with us. The meat and dairy industry needs to better take into account the treatment of animals. We need to find a way to better respect animals, and stop what in some cases is inhumane treatment—all the while, supporting our farmers and ranchers, financially and otherwise, to help make it so. Each of us must examine, carefully and soulfully, how our dietary choices not only affect our bodies and our planet, but how they literally affect the animals themselves.