Farms, Food, and Hunger: A Conversation with Candidates Recap

On Wednesday, September 9, candidates for state offices participated in a forum about farms, food, and hunger. The forum was hosted by NCAH, Carolina Farm Stewardship Association, Feeding the Carolinas, The Rural Center, MomsRising, and RAFI-USA, and was moderated by Calvin Allen of Rural Forward NC.

Agriculture Commissioner – Steve Troxler (R) and Jenna Wadsworth (D)
Labor Commissioner – Josh Dobson (R) and Jessica Holmes (D)
Superintendent of Public Instruction – Jen Mangrum (D)
Lieutenant Governor – Yvonne Holley (D)

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  • Please introduce yourself, including your name; where you live; for which office you are running; and why food, farming and hunger matter in NC today.
  • North Carolina is the 10th most food insecure state in the country, while at the same time being the 10th most agriculturally productive state in the nation. The COVID-19 pandemic has highlighted weaknesses in our food systems, which we have also seen with natural disasters, such as hurricanes in the past. What solutions will you offer to create a resilient food system that nourished all North Carolinians in the face of future emergencies?
  • Before COVID-19, one in five North Carolina children lived in food insecure households. Feeding America now estimates that nearly 30% of our children are food insecure, lacking consistent access to healthy, affordable foods. What actions will you take to better support child nutrition programs in serving fresh, nutritious meals to all children in the state?
  • According to 2018 data, over 42% of SNAP participants in North Carolina are in working families – in other words, even though the adults work, they do not make enough money to make ends meet and cover all their food needs. How will you address this disparity?
  • Food system workers, and specifically the Latinx community, have been disparately impacted by COVID-19 due to work environments, lack of access to healthcare, and job loss. What steps will you take to address the short-term and long-term needs of food system workers and the Latinx community in particular?
  • North Carolina has a long legacy of farms owned and run by African Americans. There is also a long history of discrimination against Black farmers, to the point that today only 4% of farm operations in the state are African American owned. If elected, what will you do in the role of your respective office to support Black farmers and other underserved farming populations, such as beginning, female, or small-scale farmers, in North Carolina?