Food Policy

What Food Policy Questions Would You Ask During Tonight's Debate?

October 18, 2016

We originally ran this article to accompany the first presidential debate. But since none of our questions got answered, we're posing them again, in time for the third and final showdown.

Here are a few food policy-related questions Food52's editorial team would like to see Clinton and Trump address. The list is by no means exhaustive, though. We're more interested in hearing what you want to know—tell us in the comments!

  • What's the biggest problem with the U.S. food system—and what's the first step you would take to change it?
  • Considering strides made in food policy and nutrition labeling made over the course of the Obama presidency, largely due to the work of Michelle Obama, do you have plans to continue building on those advancements?
  • What would you to do curb food waste in the United States?
  • How will you promote the businesses of small farmers? More specifically, how will you make it more profitable for small farmers to grow the things we need most at a reasonable price, such as fresh produce, rather than historically subsidized corn and wheat?
  • Why do people still go hungry in the U.S., and what would you do to reduce hunger? How is solving this problem intertwined with other socio-economic issues you'd like to tackle?
  • What would you say to Fight for $15, the labor group composed of fast-food workers who are demanding a federal living wage as well as union rights? Are their concerns valid to you, and if so, how would you seek to placate them?
  • Specifically for Mr. Trump, regarding his beloved restaurant, McDonald's—do you have interest in seeing McDonald's provide more nutritious options? What do you have to say about its role in America's obesity epidemic?
  • Whom would you choose as your advisors when it comes to food policy?
  • Are there food policies in place elsewhere in the world that you'd turn to in order to inform your own decisions regarding food policy and safety?

Your turn! Let us know what you'd like to see the candidates answer tonight in the comments.

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Update, 10/13: Earlier, we suggested that the candidates tackle the issue of cow farts. We've since realized that cow burps are far more pressing a topic, and we've adjusted the text accordingly. Huge editorial oversight. Sorry. Bye!

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Mayukh Sen is a James Beard Award-winning food and culture writer in New York. His writing has appeared in the New York Times, the New Yorker, Bon Appetit, and elsewhere. He won a 2018 James Beard Award in Journalism for his profile of Princess Pamela published on Food52.


Sue S. October 19, 2016
How would you mitigate the current crisis in bees -- without which we will not even be able to grow much of our food?
patricia G. October 19, 2016
"Get Big or Get Out" said Earl Butz to farmers in the 1970s. But "Get Big" has been devastating to our food system, public health and environment. How would you align America's farm and food policies and make both of them better, not bigger?
pierino October 19, 2016
Do you consider ketchup a vegetable? Would you put it on a hot dog? Would you eat the hot dog with your little hands or use chop sticks?
Kenzi W. October 19, 2016
Slow claps.
C S. October 19, 2016
Do you support not only people's right to know what is in the food, via GMO labeling, but where the food is grown and processed? What would you do to reverse the GMO non-labeling law that Obama signed into law? And the laws allowing food, chicken & meat, processing oversees?
BerryBaby October 19, 2016
I'd like it to be a law that ALL children be given lunch, even if their parents cannot, or could not, pay for it. No child should be denied lunch and there should be backup funds for provide for this.
Sam1148 September 26, 2016
Pizza with a knife and fork. Are you sure you're from New York?
Carrie H. September 26, 2016
How will you change food subsidies to stop going to the top one percent, and start going to where it needs to?
meggan D. September 26, 2016
As populations grow, we will need to turn to the oceans for food. What policies can the US adopt to reduce our imports of seafood from outside the US and strengthen our marine resource economy?
Christopher M. September 26, 2016
Farm policy is important to me, I would like to know if the either of the candidates support Michelle Obama's healthy school lunch policies, and if they will stop subsidizing food.
Robby H. September 26, 2016
What would you do to help make healthier foods as affordable as junk foods? Would you consider dropping the energy inefficient fuel grain subsidies so it is just as cost efficient to grow edible crops so more people can afford staple foods?