Food and Agriculture

We need to fix our broken food system—and science can help us do it. UCS food experts highlight solutions to ensure that every American has access to healthy, green, fair, affordable food.


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Latest Food and Agriculture Posts

Photo: National Archives and Records Administration/

A Look Back at Dr. King’s Demands for Food Justice

, Food Systems & Health Analyst

On April 29th of 1968, Reverend Ralph David Abernathy visited the US Department of Agriculture (USDA) to talk about food and farming. And with the list of demands he carried, the Reverend brought with him the voice of the late Dr. King, assassinated just one month prior, and of many thousands of others—including farmers who were denied land, families who were denied food, and people who were denied dignity. So what, exactly, did he ask of the Secretary of Agriculture? And fifty years later—are we still asking for the same things? Read more >

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A Failure of US Biosecurity: How Federal Regulators Helped a Japanese Beetle Cross the Border

Christy Leppanen, Ph.D., , UCS

With a partial government shutdown now in its 3rd week, many Americans are learning the hard way about the wide range of functions their federal government normally serves. One of those little-known functions is preventing the spread of invasive plants, insects, and other species that threaten native ecosystems and valuable natural resources, costing the United States an estimated $120 billion every year. Just last week, the shutdown forced conference organizers at the US Department of Agriculture (USDA) to cancel an annual meeting of 300 scientists working to coordinate research and find solutions. Even before the shutdown, however, USDA regulators had failed to fully live up to their obligations—designated by law—to protect US resources from invasive species.

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Photo courtesy Phil Roeder/Flickr

Four Things the New Congress Can Do to Hold Trump’s USDA Accountable

, senior analyst, Food and Environment

When it comes to the US Department of Agriculture (USDA) and its handling of food and farming issues, Congressional oversight is sorely needed. As the new Congress gets underway, here are four ways its leaders should seek to make Secretary Perdue and his USDA more accountable to the public interest. Read more >

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The 2018 Farm Bill Is Now Law. But the Shenanigans Continue…

, director, Food & Environment Program

Today, President Trump signs the Agricultural Improvement Act of 2018 (the “farm bill”) into law. Over the past year, our allies and supporters called their elected officials, signed petitions, wrote letters to the editor and organized their communities—doing everything possible to impress upon Congress the importance of legislation that supports the nation’s farmers, and the food insecure, in an equitable and responsible way. It is time for a quick inventory of achievements and the work yet ahead, though there isn’t much time for us, or our supporters and allies, to catch our breath.

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Trump Administration Seeks to Undermine SNAP After Congress Negotiates Bipartisan Farm Bill

, Food Systems & Health Analyst

Yesterday—after work hours, in peak holiday season—Secretary Sonny Perdue held an off-camera, on-record, over-the-phone briefing about proposed changes to the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP, formerly food stamps) that would result in major cuts to the program. At 5:03 am this morning the US Department of Agriculture (USDA) posted its new proposed rule. The proposed changes come on the heels of a failed effort to implement other ineffective and punitive work requirements in the farm bill. Read more >

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