September was a busy month for plant-based food policy in our nation’s capitol!

Plant Based Foods and Opportunities for American Farmers

This year’s Congressional briefing focused on opportunities for American farmers to grow input ingredients for plant-based foods. We invited members of congress and their staff, and over 100 RSVPd, demonstrating a strong interest.

A big thank you to Rep. Dean Phillips (D-MN) for his wonderful opening remarks that set the stage for the panel discussion. Deena Shanker the reporter from Bloomberg, did a fantastic job moderating the panel discussion with myself, Tyler Lorenzen, CEO of Puris, and Mike Messersmith, general manager of Oatly.

Also, huge thanks to Beyond Meat and Oatly for providing samples (which certainly impressed our attendees!) and PBFA lobbyists Shannon Campagna and Dan Colegrove and media consultant Michael Roberts for helping with networking and logistics for the event. Also in attendance were PBFA members Kellogg’s, Meatless Farm, and Upfields.

Photo to the left: Rep. Dean Phillips, Michele Simon, Tyler Lorenzen, Deena Shanker, Mike Messersmith speaking on the panel. To the right: Michele Simon with reporter Jerry Hagstom.

FDA’s Public Meeting

Following our congressional briefing was the FDA’s Public Meeting on Horizontal Approaches to Food Standards of Identity Modernization. Both Shannon and I attended the meeting and I spoke to explain that we do not need any changes to existing laws. You can read my full comments here.

Photo to the left: Michele Simon delivering PBFA’s comments to the FDA. To the right: Michele Simon and Kyra Lindemann from PBFA member Upfields

Reducetarian Summit

After three packed days in Washington DC, I was joined by Sally Ruecking, PBFA’s chief growth officer, for the Reducetarian Summit, a conference focused on strategies to increase the consumption of plant-based foods.

I spoke on the Food Politics about the need for agricultural policy to be in greater alignment with public health. Sally and I also got the chance to visit with PBFA members and make new connections.

Photo to the left: Michele Simon speaking on the Reducetarian panel. To the right: Michele Simon with PBFA member Califia Farms

Advocating for plant-based foods in the policy arena is a true passion of mine and I am so pleased with the positive response during each of these events. It is becoming increasingly important for PBFA to be the voice of our members as our industry grows.