October 24, 2008

Farmer in Chief

I've mentioned at least once below Michael Pollan and his most recent book, In Defense of Food: An Eater's Manifesto. This book and its predecessor, The Omnivore's Dilemma: A Natural History of Four Meals have had a tremendous impact on my views about food, on both a personal and societal level.

I discovered today an article by Pollan titled Farmer in Chief that appeared several weeks ago in the New York Times Magazine. It's an open letter to our next President outlining how our national food policies will drastically affect other much-discussed issues such as health, the environment, energy independence, foreign policy and overall national security.

I was encouraged to see that Obama has not only read Pollan's article, but seems able to digest (pardon the pun) and appreciate its significance:
"I was just reading an article in the New York Times by Michael Pollen about food and the fact that our entire agricultural system is built on cheap oil. As a consequence, our agriculture sector actually is contributing more greenhouse gases than our transportation sector. And in the mean time, it's creating monocultures that are vulnerable to national security threats, are now vulnerable to sky-high food prices or crashes in food prices, huge swings in commodity prices, and are partly responsible for the explosion in our healthcare costs because they're contributing to type 2 diabetes, stroke and heart disease, obesity, all the things that are driving our huge explosion in healthcare costs. That's just one sector of the economy. You think about the same thing is true on transportation. The same thing is true on how we construct our buildings. The same is true across the board."

- Barack Obama, from interview with Time's Joe Klein

1 comment:

jovaliquilts said...

I saw that Pollan article. I've been thinking about that sort of thing for a few years now because I worked in the College of Ag. Pretty distressing, and pretty unrecognized as a problem -- and glossed over by many who do see it.

Have you read Barbara Kingsolver's Animal, Vegetable, Miracle? (Have I asked you that?)