Easy Template to Get You Started

(And for more help, scroll down for two sample letters!)

Use this subject line: Comments Regarding Agriculture and Antitrust Enforcement Issues in Our 21st Century Economy

Then: State who you are — parent, teacher, farmer, cook, gardener, community leader, eater… whatever feels relevant.

State that you are concerned about the consolidation of corporate power in the food and agriculture sector.

State your primary reasons why. See the important themes of corporate concentration for some ideas to get you started. This section can be short and informal; don’t worry about spelling out the connections too precisely. The important thing is to express from your own experience what most concerns you or how you’ve been affected by the effects of corporate consolidation in the food industry. Be honest and speak from your heart.

Don’t forget: Thank them for the opportunity to submit comments.

Finally: Sign your name and address

When you’re done: E-mail your comments to agriculturalworkshops@usdoj.gov.  Or you can submit two paper copies of your comments to Legal Policy Section, Antitrust Division, U.S. Department of Justice, 450 5th Street, NW, Suite 11700, Washington, D.C. 20001. All comments received will be publicly posted.

More information here.

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SAMPLE LETTER

I am a public-health advocate. I work with low income families helping them to access services to improve their children’s health and their overall well-being. I am deeply concerned about corporate consolidation in the agricultural, processing, and supermarket sectors, as I see its repercussions every day in my work with my clients.

The profit structure and incentives of large corporations are distinctly misaligned with positive nutritional and health objectives. As food and agricultural corporations have grown and consolidated, their lobbies have become ever more powerful, ultimately influencing every aspect of US agricultural policy — with consequences that are entirely detrimental to public health. It makes my blood boil that my tax dollars subsidize the production of corn syrup, for example, which is significantly contributing to the obesity crisis — which is then requiring even more of my tax dollars to address.

Additionally, while I don’t consider myself a strong environmentalist, I feel very strongly about climate change. The carbon footprint of our well-traveled food (1500 miles from farm to plate, on average) is enormous, and seems like an inevitable byproduct of corporate concentration — large corporations will always want to centralize production to create efficient economies of scale. There are certainly real benefits to efficiency and centralization in some sectors of the economy, but transporting tomatoes or beef or milk across the country — when much of it could be done just as well more regionally — doesn’t make sense.

Thank you for the opportunity to weigh in on this important matter. I look forward to following the hearings process in the coming year.

SAMPLE LETTER

I am a university librarian in Durham, North Carolina. As someone who’s interested in community gardens, environmental justice, composting, and eating more delicious and nutritious food, I think about food issues a lot. I’m very concerned about the consolidation of power in the agricultural and food processing sectors, for a number of important reasons:

Our food supply is not safe. Through my professional awareness, I firmly believe that it’s just a matter of time before a major outbreak of a food-borne illness hits. I feel completely powerless here. I can choose to grow my own (which I did some this summer, but I am a working girl with a long commute!) and choose to shop at the local farmers’ markets (this was easy over the summer when there was a once a week market near my office; it’s much harder in the winter.), and try to frequent restaurants that use local produce… But that’s not enough to keep me safe from a widespread epidemic. I can do some of those things some of the time, but I can’t do all of them all the time, so I feel like a sitting duck.

It seems that food prices are set by just a few companies. I watch prices rise, and feel there’s really nothing I can do about it. My food budget is stretched. I don’t like to imagine what it’s like to feed a family.

Finally, food from the large grocery stores tastes like nothing. I heard groundbreaking urban farming entrepreneur and MacArthur genius grant winner Will Allen speak recently. He said that much of the imported food we eat is simply cellulose, and I believe it. The food I get at local farmers’ markets is always tastier and fresher, but I don’t always have time to go to them, and they’re more expensive. I’d like to be able to get fresh, local food at my supermarket, but there doesn’t seem to be a way for the small farmers to get their products into these big chains.

Thank you for the opportunity to express my concern on this matter. I look forward to following this investigation in the coming year.

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