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Identity & Community

League of Women Voters Talks Food

The League of Woman Voters of Greater Pittsburgh (LWVGP) is not just for election information. The organization is branching out into the agricultural sector.

LWVGP is holding public educational meetings on the farming industry — focusing on major food issues including: genetically modified organisms, water pollution, antibiotics in livestock, food labeling and crop subsidies. 

“We are all affected by the agricultural sector," said Annette Shimer, vice president of LWVGP. "It affects the prices we pay for food. It affects the quality of the food that we get. It affects the access to food, both in cities and in rural areas.”

The first meetings in February will focus on the economic health of the food industry, specifically crop subsidies and the federal regulatory process. The second round of meetings is to be held in March, and will focus on food labeling, safety and research and development.

The LWVGP is hoping to develop a stance on these issues from the public's input. 

“This is the consensus unit; we will be discussing a whole series of questions and coming to a consensus on them. So for instance on food safety, we’re going to be talking about which of the following approaches to food safety should the government perform or fund,” said Shimer.

After the league decides where it stands on the issues, it plans to lobby Congress — particularly the Farm Bill, which has been awaiting action since 2012. 

The league is traditionally thought to be a nonpartisan organization, but members do have some political issues that they feel they need to address. “The League of Woman Voters is a multi-pronged organization, we certainly are a voter service but, we also have issues on which we take stance and that’s after much study and consensus,” said Shimer.

The first meeting will be held at 12:30 p.m. Thursday at the Mt. Lebanon Library in the South Hills.