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Episode 610: How to Lobby for a Plant-Rich Future with Laura Reese

By Jasmin and Mariann — September 18, 2021

Laura Reese, co-founder of Agriculture Fairness Alliance (AFA), joins the podcast this week for a riveting conversation about food and farm policy and how each of us potentially has the power to influence it. A former Silicon Valley engineer, Laura explains how she shifted from product planning to federal policy in hopes of helping farmers and policymakers craft policy to allow for a plant-rich future. She gives us a bird’s eye view of the current problems with American food policy and describes what is happening at the United States Department of Agriculture under President Biden. Laura also shares how she finds motivation and hope for the future even when there are so many hurdles between her and what AFA aims to accomplish.

Laura Reese co-founded Agriculture Fairness Alliance in 2019 and now leads a team of volunteers lobbying for change in federal farm policy. She is an ex-Silicon Valley engineer and holds a Bachelor of Science from the University of Southern California in biomedical and electrical engineering. Prior to 2019, the bulk of Laura’s career was spent in semiconductor product planning, culminating in her publishing a book about co-planning with customers called Align: Get Your Team on the Same Page, Discover Clients’ Needs, Develop Better Products.

“We don’t have to be experts in everything; we can work with experts and have that inform our lobbying agenda, so we can focus on the things that are opportunities.” – Laura Reese

Highlights:

  • The AFA’s mission and vision for the future
  • How subsidies currently work and who’s getting what
  • The types of changes AFA is focusing on
  • Why AFA has a current lobbying agenda, a long-term lobbying agenda, and the difference between the two
  • Laura’s interest in the Farmer and Rancher Mobility Sustainability Amendment, which was set up to prioritize helping socially disadvantaged farmers
  • Why it’s so essential to subsidize transitions for farmers currently engaged in animal agriculture
  • Why Laura expects discussion around climate change in Congress to increase
  • Tips and advice on what listeners can do right now to support good food and farm policy

Connect with Laura Reese:

Connect with Our Hen House:

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This episode is brought to you in part through the generosity of A Well-Fed World. A Well-Fed World provides the means for change by empowering individuals, social justice organizations, and political decision makers to embrace the benefits of plant-based foods and farming. Learn more at awfw.org.

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You can listen to our podcast directly on our website, or subscribe on Apple Podcasts or your favorite podcatcher! Also, if you like what you hear, please rate it and leave us a comment on Apple Podcasts! Of course, we would be thrilled if you would also consider making a donation, or becoming a member of our flock (especially if you’re a regular listener). Any amount is hugely appreciated, and Our Hen House is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization, so it’s tax-deductible! Thank you for helping us create quality content, and for helping us bring you a new podcast episode each week!

Don’t forget to tune into Our Hen House’s other two podcasts: The Teaching Jasmin How to Cook Vegan Podcast, and The Animal Law Podcast.

The Our Hen House theme song is written and performed by Michael Harren.

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