Armchair Activism 101
Writing a Letter to the Editor (LtE) is a simple way to communicate your views on current events, political issues, public policy, and much more to thousands of people at once. It’s also an opportunity to encourage your representatives to take action and support legislation that can benefit you and your communities.
The opportunity to write LtEs brings political action to the comforts of your home and computers- all you need is an opinion and an article to respond to!
How do LtEs help AFA’s mission?
- LtEs that mention federal-level reps can be used by AFA’s lobbyists as a calling card to get a meeting with crucial policy and decision makers.
- They socialize messaging that AFA lobbying depends on. Community support yields effective lobbying!
- It empowers our members to engage with current events, amplify our message, and accelerate advancement to planet-friendly policy.
Anatomy of a Letter to the Editor
A Letter to the Editor can be broken down into three main paragraphs.
- Conclusion + Call to Action
In this paragraph, you will-
- State the article you are responding to
- Establish why this is an important issue and if possible, demonstrate your credibility- are you an expert in the field, do you live in the region being affected by a policy, are you a concerned citizen, etc.
- Convey your stance- for or against topic of discussion
In the introduction, you set the stage to captivate readers. Now here comes the fun bit where you get to flaunt your expertise and crucial facts on the matter!
- Offer a solution if relevant and justify why it’s better than the status quo.
- Provide examples of case studies or data that can back your stance
- Stay focused and keep the material simple, and straightforward. You don’t want to confuse or bore the readers!
The Conclusion (Your mic drop moment)
The grand finale- you’ve got to finish strong!
- Reiterate the community benefits of your proposed solution
- Point out relevance for the future
- Call to action from local representatives- this is key!
- If you are writing about a piece of legislation, you can request their support/ opposition
- You may thank them or congratulate them for taking commendable action and encourage that trajectory.
Be clear and concise. You want to keep the readers engaged while effectively communicating your views. Ensure that you are well-equipped with key talking points that are specific to the article you are responding to.
Key Topics & Talking Points
Below are suggested topics from AFA’s tutorial that may serve as a guide-
- Dietary Fiber Crisis
- Farm Spending Fails to Mirror Dietary Guidelines
- Climate Smart School Lunches
- Climate-Smart Crops
- Farmers Need Options Under thumb of Big Ag
- Supplying the Plant-Based Goods Market
- Impact of Animal Agriculture
- Zoonotic Diseases and Food Safety
- Antibiotic Resistance
- Skewed Subsidies
AFA proposes draft legislation that will create a USDA pilot program to help farmers transition into producing fiber-rich food crops.
Let’s start Writing!
Step 1: Pick an article to respond to. Ideally, you want to pick a recent piece that was published within the month.
Step 2: Refer to the Letter to the Editor guidelines of the publication- word limit, submission format (email, online submission form, etc.), a requirement to cite your sources, etc.
Step 3: Curate your list of key talking points along with sources to back your claims and argument. Remember that some publications may or may not require citing your sources. It’s best to be equipped with untenable facts, data, and logic!
Step 4: Draft your letter using the abovementioned anatomy as a reference.
Step 5: Submit and wait to be a published voice for the community!
To send us a report of a letter you submitted, follow this link.
You can send us the link/s to your published letter/s here.