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Group hungers for attention

Published on November 9, 2012 3:01AM

Last changed on December 7, 2012 9:10AM

Rik Dalvit/For the Capital Press

Rik Dalvit/For the Capital Press

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Washington, D.C., is populated by lobbyists, special interests, industry groups and all manner of political noisemakers.

Add one more to the list. A new group called Food Policy Action has arrived on the scene. Armed with its National Food Policy Scorecard, it hopes to coax members of Congress into toeing the line when it comes to issues related to food, labor, the environment and everything in between. Among its 12 members are various individuals and groups interested in "food policy" in Congress. They are:

* Tom Colicchio, chef, restaurateur and head judge of "Top Chef."

* Gary Hirshberg, co-founder and chairman of Stonyfield Farm.

* Wayne Pacelle, CEO and president of the Humane Society of the United States.

* Ray Offenheiser, president of Oxfam America.

* Rev. David Beckmann, president of Bread for the World.

* Dave Murphy, founder and executive director of Food Democracy Now.

* Mia Dell, chief lobbyist for United Food and Commercial Workers.

* Navina Khanna, co-founder of Live Real.

* Robin Schepper, former executive director of "Let's Move!"

* John Boyd, president of National Black Farmers Association.

* Michael Jacobson, executive director of Center for Science in the Public Interest.

* Ken Cook, president of the Environmental Working Group.

Looking at the list, many special interests appear to be well-represented. But where is the vast majority of farmers and ranchers -- the people who feed the nation and much of the world? Wouldn't they have a stake in food policy discussions?

Food Policy Action's goal is to rate politicians based on the votes they cast in Congress. It produced a list of the 50 "Good Food Champions" who received the top score.

But there's a hitch in the ratings. Not a single Republican made the cut, and not a single member of the House Agriculture Committee, Democrat or Republican, is a "Good Food Champion." Likewise, no member of the U.S. Senate Agriculture Committee was deemed worthy of the listing.

It's obvious that Food Policy Action isn't about food, or feeding people. It's about a whole array of special interests and not much more.

Maybe that's why it is just another Washington, D.C., noisemaker.


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