Nicholas Kristof in his NY Times op-ed today urges Obama to appoint a Secretary of Food:
A Department of Agriculture made sense 100 years ago when 35 percent of Americans engaged in farming. But today, fewer than 2 percent are farmers. In contrast, 100 percent of Americans eat.
The interests of big agriculture – the “factory farmers” – are really opposed to the interests of people. The “food” they raise wastes energy, causes huge environment damage, makes us unhealthy, and even leads to antibiotic resistant diseases.
On the other hand, real family farmers, who grow non-factory food on relatively small farms, are good for us, good for the environment, and good for our health.
If you feel this is a good cause, check out the online petition at www.fooddemocracynow.org, which calls for a reformist pick for agriculture secretary — and names six terrific candidates, including Chuck Hassebrook, a reformer in Nebraska and Fred Kirschenmann, an organic farmer and researcher in Pocantico Hills, NY.
For more on food policy and its relation to health, environment, and policy, check out Michael Pollan’s “Open Letter To The Next Farmer In Chief” in the October 12 New York Times Magazine. Eye-opening and inspiring, like all of his work.