Karen Perry Stillerman

Senior analyst, Food and Environment

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Karen Perry Stillerman is an analyst and advocate for transforming the U.S. agriculture and food system to one that produces affordable, healthful foods for consumers; reduces air and water pollution; and builds healthy soil for the farmers of tomorrow. She holds a master's degree in public affairs and environmental policy. See Karen's full bio.

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With Biden Victory, It’s Time to Follow the Science and Rebuild Our Food System and the USDA

It’s time for the USDA to follow the science, not reward industry. It’s time to rebuild US agriculture, from the ground up. It’s time to protect essential food workers and ensure everyone can eat. With decent people who respect science back in charge, a healthier, more just, resilient, and sustainable food system is possible. Read more >

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Photo courtesy Jim Horn/Flickr

As COVID-19 Reveals Our Food System’s Flaws, Congress Can Boost Protection Now—and Resilience for the Future

If we didn’t know it before—or had forgotten—the escalating pandemic and its widening economic ripple effects are hammering home the reality that our world is full of risk and uncertainty. Preparedness is paramount. Resilience is essential. And apart from the nation’s healthcare system, nowhere is this more apparent right now than when it comes to keeping ourselves fed, as food producers, workers, and consumers alike face mounting threats to their health and well-being.

Because the system wasn’t designed to protect them.

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Photo courtesy duncan c/Flickr

Three Ways the Coronavirus Crisis Is Also a Food Crisis

As the coronavirus crisis keeps most Americans at home, many of us have pantries comfortably stocked with food and can have groceries delivered to our doorsteps in a matter of hours. But millions of our neighbors have trouble putting food on the table in the best of times, and they’re now joined by many more people abruptly facing job loss and hunger. Meanwhile, many of the people who produce and safeguard our food supply are confronted with increased health risk and economic catastrophe. Read more >

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Photo: __Jens__/Flickr

Lunch in the Time of COVID-19: What Schools Need Now to Ensure Kids Don’t Go Hungry During a Pandemic

Regular readers will know that I take a pretty dim view of the Trump administration’s Department of Agriculture and many of its anti-science, anti-farmer, and just plain mean-spirited actions over the past three years. The administration is also getting a lot of things (very) wrong in its response to the novel coronavirus disease (COVID-19). But last week, the USDA got something right when it moved to help two states facing serious virus outbreaks ensure that schoolchildren can access free and reduced-priced meals even when schools are closed during this emergency. Unfortunately, schools and the children they serve across the nation are likely to need a lot more of this support in the weeks and months ahead. Read more >

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U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue visits and serves bacon cheeseburgers for lunch to some of the Discovery Elementary School students, in Arlington, VA, during National School Lunch Week, October 15-19, 2018. USDA Photo by Lance Cheung.

From School Lunch to SNAP, New Attacks on Kids’ Health and Nutrition

Life comes at you fast, and so does the Trump administration’s ongoing assault on children’s health. Over the last many months, my colleagues in the Union of Concerned Scientists’ Center for Science and Democracy have been hard at work rounding up stories of action or inaction, at agencies from the Environmental Protection Agency to the Consumer Product Safety Commission and beyond, that put the nation’s children in greater danger. Their report and related not-really-for-kids-storybook came out last week, and I encourage you to read them both.

But sadly, the tally is already a bit out of date. Even as our report was in press, the administration was jumping on a few more opportunities to put kids at risk.

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