The 2012 Farm Bill – Your Food, Your Water, Your Money: Why The Farm Bill Matters

In the first event of the Food (In)Security series, Ken Cook discusses the enormous challenges as Congress begins work to reauthorize the omnibus Farm Bill.

Read the Chicago Maroon’s coverage of Ken Cook’s talk:

Ken Cook defends food stamps as Farm Bill looms

Prominent environmental advocate Ken Cook assessed standing legislation and advocated for changes to the 2012 Farm Bill Tuesday in Swift Hall.
Cook, the president and co-founder of the Environmental Working Group (EWG), a non-profit environmental advocacy group, promoted policy reevaluation in the pending omnibus bill that is passed through Congress every five years. The Farm Bill encompasses food stamp programs, subsidies for farms, and funding for agricultural conservation projects.
“The Environmental Working Group’s top priority in the Farm Bill is protecting the food stamp program, the SNAP program,” Cook said. “We are the only national environmental organization at all that has taken a stand on that issue.” … Read the rest of the story »

Ken Cook has spent much of his professional life at the center of the debate over the nation’s federal agriculture and food policy. His fingerprints can be found on every farm bill going back for more than three decades, and was a principal architect of the landmark conservation provisions of the 1985 farm bill, which for the first time attempted to shift U.S. farm policy from a narrow focus on maximum crop production to conservation of land, water, wetlands and wildlife.

Cook discussed the enormous challenges in front of us as Congress begins its work to reauthorize the farm bill, which is required by law to happen every 5 years. From protecting land and water, to spending taxpayer dollars on programs that actually help the environment, improve the quality of our food, and enhance vital federal nutrition programs for those most in need, Cook will touch on these and many other issues as he lays out the battle before us to fundamentally change the way our government invests in food and agriculture.

This Program on the Global Environment Distinguished Lecture was also the first program in the Center for International Studies spring quarter series, Food (In)Security: Access, Equity, Frameworks. The event was cosponsored by CIS, the Program on the Global Environment, and University Communications.

120417-cookKen Cook is president and co-founder of the Environmental Working Group (EWG), a public interest research and advocacy organization that uses the power of information to protect human health and the environment. In the 10 years since its founding in 1993, EWG has earned renown for its innovative, headline-making computer investigations of environmental problems and polluters’ anti-environmental lobbying. The organization’s research and analysis have made it a major force in national policy debates over toxic chemicals, pesticides, air and water pollution, and the ecological impacts of modern agriculture.The author of dozens of articles, opinion pieces and reports on environmental, public health and agricultural topics, including Mulch, a blog about food and agriculture policy, Cook is regularly listed as one of Washington’s Top Lobbyists by The Hill (the Capitol Hill newspaper). Cook was named the Ultimate Green Game Changer by The Huffington Post in 2010, and in 2011 was listed as one of the “Seven Most Powerful Foodies In the World” by journalist and food movement icon Michael Pollan. Cook is a frequent source of environmental perspective and commentary in national print and broadcast media. Regularly quoted by The New York Times, the Washington Post, San Francisco Chronicle and other papers, Cook has also made frequent appearances on The News Hour with Jim Lehrer, CBS’s 60 Minutes, National Public Radio, and the evening newscasts of ABC, NBC, CBS and CNN among other programs.

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