Food & Water Watch is a Washington D.C.-based non-profit group that works to give the consumers healthy foodand clean, safe water. The organization originated in 2005 and now has 12 regional offices in the U.S. and one in Europe. I spoke to Valerie Palacios, who’s working with the Los Angeles office and helped with the Food & Water Watch booth at the Los Angeles Green Festival, which took place October 29 & 30.Food & Water Watch deals mostly with federal policy issues, so a big part of Valerie Palacios’ job is reaching out to the constituents in the region. She also works on connecting FWW with other community organizations interested in obtaining similar goals. Her main focus has been getting people in LA and southern California to support a Fair Farm Bill, a national campaign dealing with unfair agricultural practices, protecting small farms, and making it easier for people to find healthy food options. Valerie further adds “We are educating one another within our communities about U.S. food policy while we work with the Los Angeles City Council to pass a resolution in favor of a Fair Farm Bill.”
Another big campaign by Food & Water Watch has been fighting against Monsanto’s genetically modified sweet corn. Last week, FWW joined forces with CREDO Action, The Center for Food Safety, and the Center for Environmental Health to send a petition to the top 10 supermarket chains and food companies. The petition received signatures by 264,000 consumers saying they won’t buy GMO sweet corn.
Valeries explains, “It is outrageous that this GE sweet corn could show up in grocery stores across the country in less than a year and we will have no way of telling it apart from other corn. Hopefully these companies will listen and respond to consumer demand and refuse to sell this GE sweet corn.” Mandatory labeling of GMO products is a key policy that Food & Water Watch endorses. They also support a moratorium on any new U.S. approvals of genetically engineered plants and animals, testing GMO products for potential harmful effects before they go on the market, and regulating biotechnology.
On the water side of Food & Water Watch, one of their biggest campaigns is Take Back the Tap. This campaign differs from their others as it’s mostly led by college students across the country. Valerie says “Despite the fact that purchasing bottled water is thousands of times more expensive than tap water, it is not safer than tap water and has hidden environmental and social costs at both the local and international levels”.
As Food & Water Watch is about reaching out to the community and connecting with like-minded organizations and companies, the Green Festival was a great way to continue with these efforts. People familiar with their work sought out the organization at the festival. Additionally, FWW was got the opportunity to introduce themselves to those not familiar with the organization and get more people to demand change. Food & Water Watch also connected with other organizations and companies to establish future efforts to work together toward obtaining safety in our food and water.