Our environment provides us with many natural resources and benefits, from the air we breathe and the water we drink to natural spaces that help us relax and reconnect with nature and each other. The food we eat is also a resource provided by our environment and, like air and water, is one that we all cannot live without. MCE believes that the food system is an integral part of our environment and that a healthy food system is both sustainable and equitable—it preserves the integrity of air, land, and water while producing abundant, healthy food that is accessible and affordable across all communities.
However, people are disconnected from the food they eat. Most of the fruits and vegetables Missourians eat come from far away, due to our region’s focus on commodity farming—growing corn and soy mainly for livestock feed, processed food, and ethanol. In spite of our region’s rich soil, abundant water, and our ability to produce the fruits and vegetables we need, many communities, both urban and rural, are going hungry. People across the state are suffering severe health consequences due to inequitable distribution and affordability of healthy foods.
We believe that to sustain a healthy environment and healthy communities across Missouri, we must work toward a future in which nutritious, locally produced food is accessible and affordable for everyone, and farmers can make a living wage producing it. Our Food and Farm Program is working toward this vision by convening and coordinating the St. Louis Food Policy Coalition, a group of people and organizations across the region united in their efforts to achieve such a future.