Slow Food Columbus

We the People

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People often ask how they can make a difference and support a sustainable food system. One easy way that everyone should be aware of is the White House’s petition website, We the People. Once you’ve created an account (all it wants is your email address, name, and zip code), you can explore active petitions and sign them with the click of a button.

The website delivers quite a bit of bang for the buck. For example, you can filter petitions by category: at this writing, there are petitions to ban neonicotinoids, the pesticides that are increasingly implicated in colony collapse disorder; mandate labeling of foods that contain GMOs; and remove section 735 (a.k.a. the “Monsanto Protection Act”) from HR 933. You can register your support for any or all of these petitions with the click of a button.

If a petition reaches its signature threshold (currently, 100,000 people), the White House has pledged to issue a response. More important, perhaps, is the fact that you’re giving sympathetic politicians the backing that they need to promote more progressive legislation, regardless of whether the petition reaches its threshold.

Is it a perfect system? Not really; people put up duplicate petitions, or goofy ones (though admittedly, the response might be worth it). Often, they petition the White House to do something beyond its power. But conventional agriculture has exceptionally strong support in government, and the most effective counterbalance to their self-interested lobbying is the voice of the people.

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