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This week on Rootstock Radio host Theresa Marquez speaks with Michele Merkel, co-director of Food and Water Justice, the legal arm of Food and Water Watch. Prior to her work at Food and Water Justice, Michele co-founded the Environmental Integrity Project (EIP) where she developed and implemented legal campaigns under the Clean Air Act and Clean Water Act, focusing mostly on livestock production. Michele has also served as an enforcement attorney for the Environmental Protection Agency.

In speaking of the cases she’s worked on with Food and Water Justice Michele says “we’ve had some wins and we’ve had some losses, but usually to the extent that we’ve had losses, the one thing that I really appreciate about working at Food and Water Watch is that our litigation is a tactic in a much broader campaign,” meaning that often these cases, regardless of whether they are won or lost, buy time for the political work going on around them. In this same vein, Michele shares that a large part of the work Food and Water Watch does aims to “engage the electorate to become more politically active and demand that their elected officials are making good decisions for our food and water systems.”

Lucky for all you Rootstock Radio listeners, this is the first half of a two-part interview (tune in next week for part two!). Here, Michele and Theresa discuss Food and Water Justice’s involvement in issues surrounding inhumane confined animal feeding operations, commonly referred to as CAFOs, hydraulic fracturing–or ”fracking”–a means of extracting gas and oil from the earth, and the nasty business of GMOs and all the pesticides that go hand in hand with them. “Contrary to what people hear in media reports,” says Michele, “GMOs aren’t about solving nutrition problems or feeding the world. They’re about profits and ultimately corporate control of our food systems.”

Listen at the link above or on iTunes or Stitcher to hear more about how Food and Water Watch is working to shift the control of our food and water systems away from industry corporations.

And don’t forget to visit next week for part two! In the meantime, check out this video of Michele’s presentation at TEDx Manhattan in March 2015: