The 2016 Republican National Convention Platform approved on the convention’s first day features a section called “Abundant Harvest” that laudes our country’s model of industrial-scale farming, including the huge amount of agricultural exports enshrined in trade deals. Absent is any recognition of all the resulting environmental harm caused by this corporate model of food production evident in huge swaths of toxic algae right now in Florida, years past in Lake Erie, and present in so many of America’s rivers and lakes.
Within these clear flaws is the blatant opposition to any protections that ensures people have safe drinking water and clean lakes and rivers. Rather, the platform calls for weakening the already tenuous options we have to prevent pollution from big agriculture. Foremost is an all-out attack on the Clean Water Act, which should be strengthened (not weakened) to control pollution from industrial scale crop production and better prevent livestock manure from contaminating our water.
Rather than promote small, independent farmers to grow a variety of crops for all Americans, the platform emphasizes more trade deals that benefit corporations that disproportionately control food production to generate even greater profits. The platform would ban labeling genetically modified food to keep people in the dark about what they are eating, and it even goes so far as to claim Americans should “celebrate” our food security. That is a tone deaf assertion for all those struggling communities that live in food deserts, where the local grocery store is miles away and the choices are anything but local. The Platform goes as far to claim, “the United States does not depend on foreign imports for sustenance.” Really? Go into any grocery store and you’ll see plenty of fruits and vegetables from other countries.
The bottom line is the Republican platform would expand the industrial model of corporate agriculture through new trade deals that benefit corporations over independent farmers, resulting in more pollution of our lakes and rivers, while doing little to provide healthy food for struggling Americans.