The Just Food Voter's Guide

The Food and Nutrition Commission believes that future policy makers and community leaders in Minnesota who understand the importance of food to our state and local communities are critical to achieving a diverse and just food system that eliminates hunger, increases access to nutritious food, and improves the health of all Minnesotans.  This effort of the Food and Nutrition Commission outlines questions aimed to raise awareness and promote public discourse around the many issues affecting Minnesota’s food system -- issues such as food security, hunger, nutrition, health, food assistance, farming, gardening, processing, farmer’s markets, food hubs, food waste and more!Use the guide to present food system issues at debates, forums, and on the doors, to help you, the voter, to discover the candidate’s “recipe” for the future of food in Minnesota.We have divided the guide into three parts for city/local, state offices, and federal offices.  The questions in no way cover the complexity of the food system in Minnesota, but serve as a catalyst for discussion!Questions for Candidates of Local Offices

  1. What would you do to encourage more urban agriculture in the city?
  2. What would you do to increase the amount of local, healthy food made available to schools, childcare centers, after-school programs, summer programs, senior meal programs, food banks, and food pantries?
  3. Supporting local food businesses and food entrepreneurs is a critical component of strengthening our local food system,  What strategies will you use for increasing local food production, processing, and retailing to address the growing consumer demand for local food?

  Questions for Candidates of State of Minnesota Offices

  1. Some cities are providing land for community gardens or even farms.  What would you do to foster that trend in Minnesota?
  2. Many low-income people in urban and rural communities live in food deserts- areas in which it’s hard to find fresh foods, especially for people without cars.  What would you do to solve the problem in Minnesota?
  3. How would you increase the use of the SNAP program in Minnesota?  SNAP, once known as food stamps, is now the supplemental nutrition assistance program, and is a life net for many seniors, children, and the disabled in Minnesota.

  Questions for Candidates of Federal Offices

  1. Federal nutrition programs such as WIC, SNAP, school lunch and breakfast programs are important food security resources in communities across Minnesota.  They also have an economic impact on retailers and food producers.  What will you do to ensure that these programs continue to benefit Minnesotans?
  2. One barrier to producing more immediately consumable foods, such as fruits and vegetables, in Minnesota is the lack of crop insurance and/or other supports for specialty crop farmers.  What would you do to see that production of fresh produce is fostered in Minnesota and around the country?
  3. Households with children are roughly twice as likely to be food insecure as households with no children.  One in five of all children in Minnesota and across the country is hungry (Feeding America, 2014).  What will you do to help reduce childhood hunger?

(We would like to acknowledge and thank the Iowa Food Systems Council for assistance in drafting the guide)