IOWA CITY– The fact that Sherrie Taha, candidate for Iowa Secretary of Agriculture, supports reduction of food imports to Iowa only makes sense.
“Rather than import the bulk of the food we eat from outside of our state, we need to reintegrate local food production back into our local economies,” said Taha. “We have great farmers markets. Now it’s time to take local food production to the next level and keep the bulk of our food dollars recirculating in our local communities.”
Set aside the inherent risks of recurring drought on the California Central Valley, and turbulent world-wide food pricing, and there remains the commonplace that Iowans can grow more of their own food. If local food production were diversified and scaled up, Iowa could do what it does best to produce more meat, dairy and vegetables for local consumption, and improve the state’s food security.
It’s a message few have heard, and not enough may have heard to tip the general election in Taha’s favor.
Last Sunday, Taha spoke in Iowa City. Her speaking slot followed a number of high-profile speakers that included Rep. Dave Loebsack, Rep. Bruce Braley, Michigan Senator Debbie Stabenow and Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders. After Sanders, a segment of the crowd dispersed, but most would have liked what Taha had to say if they stayed.
“If you eat, if you drink water, if you breathe the air around us, you have a personal stake in how the Iowa Department of Agriculture and Land Stewardship (IDALS) works,” she said. “What that means to me is that along with the corn growers and the soybean association, I’ll invite groups like the Iowa Environmental Council, the Sierra Club, and consumer groups (to get involved at IDALS). We all have to have our interests addressed. Decisions that are made (at IDALS) need to take into consideration the long-term best interests of every Iowan.”
Taha went on to enumerate reasons to consider voting for her, focusing on her experience as a commissioner for the Polk County Soil and Water Conservation District. She said Iowa needs a better process for reducing soil erosion and improving water quality than the voluntary nutrient reduction strategy instituted during the incumbent’s administration.
While Taha faces an uphill battle against an entrenched incumbent, it is hard to concede that global food security can be left to proponents of the industrial model for agriculture. Because of Iowa’s prominent role in agriculture, the person who leads IDALS matters and it should be Sherrie Taha.
Click here to learn more about Sherrie Taha and to get involved with her campaign.