Former EPA attorney and current Food & Justice lawyer Michele Merkel discusses how she went from working with the EPA to hold factory farms accountable to suing the EPA for not their job to protect people and the environment from problems caused by these industrial complexes.
Publications & Reports
- Featured Book: Foodopoly: The Battle over the Future of Food and Farming in America. Wenonah Hauter, The New Press, 2014.
Wenonah Hauter, the Executive Director of Food and Water Watch, examines the harmful impacts of consolidating power in every sector of the food industry.
- Animal Factory: The Looming Threat of Industrial Pig, Dairy, and Poultry Farms to Humans and the Environment.
David Kirby, St. Martin’s Griffin, 2011.
Investigative journalist David Kirby follows three people from small towns across America whose lives have been completely altered by the immense neighboring factory farms.
- The Chain: Farm, Factory, and the Fate of Our Food. Ted Genoways, Harper, 2014.
Acclaimed journalist Ted Genoways tells the story of Hormel Foods and its most famous product, Spam, to investigate the alarming state of the meatpacking industry.
- The Meat Racket. Christopher Leonard, Simon & Schuster, 2014.
Investigative reporter, Christopher Leonard, exposes the truth behind America’s food business: a few companies have seized control of our food supply.
Reports & Studies
- Antibiotic Resistance 101: How Antibiotic Misuse on Factory Farms Can Make You Sick. Food and Water Watch, 2015.
An FWW report on the overuse of antibiotics in factory farms and its impact on the rise of antibiotic-resistant bacteria.
- The Economic Cost of Food Monopolies. Food and Water Watch, 2012.
FWW paper that explores the economic cost for farmers and consumers of concentrating power in the agriculture and food system.
- Factory Farm Map. Food and Water Watch Project.
An interactive map that visually displays the impacts of factory farms across the U.S.
- Factory Farm Nation: How America Turned Its Farms into Factories. Food and Water Watch, 2010.
This paper discusses the historical transition from small farms to factory farms in the U.S.
Use these questions as a guide for starting conversations with your friends and family about factory farms and Michele Merkel’s talk. Add your own questions as you think of them.
- What can you do to help improve the food system?
- Were you aware of how our meat is being raised and what it means for rural communities? If not, what about it surprises you?
- Why is it that our politicians and judges are so unwilling to take steps to reform our broken agricultural system?
- What lessons can we draw from other social justice movements to shift the balance of power away from corporations?
Find out even more information related to factory farming. Also, find out how you can stay in touch with Change Food.
- With current regulations, food labels can be confusing and misleading. The Animal Welfare Approved comprehensive guide to consumer labels can help make you an informed shopper.
- GRACE Communications Foundation features the Sustainable Table Food Program that educates consumers on sustainable agriculture. Its industrial agriculture section explores the negative impacts of Big Ag.
- Food & Water Watch Co-Director Scott Edwards is a Huffington Post contributor. Visit here to read his entries.
- Best places to follow on social media to stay up to date with this topic:
Things You Can Do
There are many things you can do to get involved in the food movement. Below are examples of ways you can get involved. Take action and then share with a friend!
- Use the Eat Well Guide. You can search by keyword, zip code or city and state to find sustainable food near you!
- Vote with your fork. Use the National Food Policy Scorecard to see how your local representatives are voting on food issues.
- Ask your local store manager or restaurant manager/owner where their meat is sourced from. Use Sustainable Table’s Questions for a Store Manager for suggested questions.
- Are there CAFOs in your local area? Contact the Socially Responsible Agricultural Project for free, expert advice on how to fight factory farms in your community.
- Sign and share Food & Water Watch and similar organizations’ petitions.
- Visit the Campaigns below to sign petitions and find out the critical issues of today.
- Take the Change Food Challenge and do 3 things to help change the food system for the better!
Many groups are working toward a fair, healthy, sustainable food system – below are various campaigns that you can support to help bring good food to everyone.
- Bringing Accountability to the Meat Industry – Hold factory farms and the companies that control the agriculture industry accountable for managing their waste and complying to Clean Water Act protections.
- Bringing Transparency to Factory Farming – Bring transparency and accountability to the harmful practices of factory farming.
- Fighting for GMO Labeling – Make labeling GMO foods the law.
- Food Safety – Ensure our food is safe for consumers to eat.
- Preventing the Proliferation of Factory Farms – Help communities fight projects to expand factory farms.
- Saving Antibiotics – Stop Big Ag from misusing antibiotics on factory farms.
- Stopping GMO Salmon – Keep genetically modified salmon off our plates.
- Water Pollution Trading – Fight the false premise that polluters have the right to use our public trust waterways as waste disposal sites.
OrganizationsCenter for a Livable Future
The Center for a Livable Future conducts research on diet, food production, the environment and human health in order to promote policies that reduce threats to public health and the environment.Environmental Integrity Project
Environmental Integrity Project, EIP, partners with grassroots organizations to find solutions for reducing pollution.Food & Water Watch
The Iowa Citizens for Community Improvement, Iowa CCI, works to stop factory farms from expanding or building. They also have worked to recover over $170,000 in stolen wages for workers and won ordinances to hinder the growth of predatory payday lenders.Missouri Rural Crisis Center
With over 5,600 members, the Missouri Rural Crisis Center, MRCC, is a statewide farm and rural membership organization that seeks to preserve family farms and strives for social and economic justice by uniting both rural and urban groups.Socially Responsible Agricultural Project