How many times have we heard that the 2008 Presidential election was a historic contest? Probably enough to make you sick, I bet. Well, whether you voted for President-Elect Barack Obama, Senator John McCain, or a third party candidate I urge you to keep the winds of “change” blowing in this country.
This country is being confronted with a severe crisis and we are losing the battle, miserably. No, it’s not the economy and no, it’s not our place in international affairs. Americans are losing a battle in their own homes!
We are losing the battle for food.
New York Times op-ed columnist Nick Kristof wrote an interesting piece the other day on the topic of the next Secretary of Agriculture. In the op-ed, he cites Michael Pollan – author of In Defense of Food –:
“We’re subsidizing the least healthy calories in the supermarket — high fructose corn syrup and hydrogenated soy oil, and we’re doing very little for farmers trying to grow real food,” notes Michael Pollan, author of such books as “The Omnivore’s Dilemma” and “In Defense of Food.”
The Agriculture Department — and the agriculture committees in Congress — have traditionally been handed over to industrial farming interests by Democrats and Republicans alike. The farm lobby uses that perch to inflict unhealthy food on American children in school-lunch programs, exacerbating our national crisis with diabetes and obesity.
But let’s be clear. The problem isn’t farmers. It’s the farm lobby — hijacked by industrial operators — and a bipartisan tradition of kowtowing to it.
Kristof suggests that Obama rename the Secretary of Agriculture to the Secretary of Food, since it encompasses more Americans. Further, he suggests that we take a second look at what is really being accomplished for the agribusinesses that are bringing in these government subsidies.
I’ve read Pollan’s book and it’s eye-opening. I knew that there was a strong food lobby in Washington, but I had no idea of the extent of their successes. Did you know that at one point, the food companies could not name individually wrapped pieces of cheese “individually wrapped pieces of cheese?” Instead, they had to call them an imitation. There used to be a law against putting out imitation products and calling them anything other than imitations.
It’s shocking to think about how many things are no longer pure food and if this really is a time of change in American government, then why not change America from the bottom up – literally? Head over to FoodDemocracyNow.org to sign an online petition urging President-Elect Obama to choose the next Secretary of Agriculture wisely!