In modern America, a carrot often costs more than a candy bar.

That means that healthy living is sometimes the more expensive alternative. I believe this is wrong. And I believe we can change the course of our agriculture to help farmers, help our citizens, and help prevent catastrophic climate change.

The USA has led the world in agricultural achievements, just as we’ve led the world in technology and political developments. Part of that leadership is an uncanny ability to pivot, moving from an established – but unsustainable path – to the right path for the future. Now is our time to shift course with agriculture. Population is booming. Land is suffering. Water is rapidly becoming a rare – as well as precious – resource. It’s time to put American know-how back to work with fresh thinking, a willingness to change, and bold action. For my part, in District 8 I’ve already created FACT, the Future of Agriculture Conversion Taskforce. This community program focuses on finding ways to increase urban agriculture in our homes and businesses. Making agriculture part of people’s daily lives helps them see what is really going into the food they buy and eat every day.

It’s been said that when less than a quarter of the population is farmers, we lose our democracy, because too few people have the true independence to speak their minds. Between a rapidly urbanized culture and a competitive global market that makes foreign grown foods much cheaper, America has lost it’s independence. We are now completely dependent on a long, complex and foreign owned supply chain.

In Congress I will use every resource to educate and incentivize a renewal of America’s connection to agriculture, through advanced and urban farming techniques like aquaponics and tower gardening. It is possible for us to enjoy our modern urban lifestyles while still being connected to the Earth. There must be a middle ground between corporate farms that feed many at the cost of flavor and a healthy environment, and small-scale operations that can only feed the neighbors.

I will vote for farm subsidies that bring grown-in-America food prices down, so that the families of District 8 don’t have to shop in a store that sells a United Nations of food products, with vegetables from Chile and Spain, and fruits from Thailand and Brasil. American agriculture policy must promote jobs, research, innovation, infrastructure, and conservation. We must support alternative farming methods such as aquaponics and tower gardening.

As we reignite our relationship with what it takes to nourish our lives, we’ll find that urban agriculture will quickly empower us to embrace renewable energy as well. And what is so wonderful about all of this is that both these industries are spin-offs from space research. Right here on the Space Coast of Florida, we can lead the world in sustainable agriculture and development. By doing that we will benefit the people and commerce of District 8, and boost The Space Coast as well.