Top Chef judge Tom Colicchio is one of the most vocal foodies around. Not only is he a five-time James Beard winner and judge on Top Chef, he's also been a proponent of making sure Americans are eating better. And now, in a comprehensive op-ed on CNN, he's opening up about the importance of sustainable farming over factory farming.
"I've been a chef in some form or another since I was 14 years old, but I didn't become a food activist until much later," he writes. "It was 2007, and a young girl my wife mentored was found rooting through the trash just to find something to eat. That inspired me to found Food Policy Action and become politically active in a range of food issues, from hunger to factory farms."
Tom has been leading the charge in advocating policies that make sure Americans eat healthier. Earlier this year he went to Washington D.C. to help shine a light on a bill that would require food manufacturers to disclose GMO ingredients on their labels. And now he's opening up more about the role Congress should play in making sustainable farming the norm.
"We need to ask members of Congress to promote sustainable farming, not factory farms," he says in the piece. "We need them to support sensible food policies that ensure that everyone has access to food and water. Congress should vote against the DARK Act, which would block any federal or state action that required labels for foods made with genetically engineered ingredients even at the expense of the environment, public health and local economies."
Industrial farms reap enormous profits that they direct toward lobbying rather than improving the quality of food.
Tom acknowledges critics' view that a move towards sustainable farming might prohibit access to food: "Some may argue industrial farming has been a necessity to meet our country's food needs." But he counters by saying that it comes at a high price: "The quality of our food has been sacrificed at this supposed altar of necessity, as industrial farms reap enormous profits that they direct toward lobbying rather than improving the quality of food they produce."
Tom ends his essay with a call to arms.
"As more consumers are educated, they have the power to take action and call on elected officials to support sustainable farmers, not factory farms," he writes. "Together, we can create a sustainable food system in America that is better for our environment and our health."