Nicholas Kristof has a great op-ed in today’s New York Times about the notion of a Department of Food, rather than a Department of Agriculture in the US. The notion is that the department which overseas food production should represent eaters as much as it does farmers. It’s an interesting concept, one Ezra Klein has discussed at length, most recently in this part of his Bloggingheads appearance this week.
Kristof linked to this petition, a letter from a number of well-known people in the world of food and eating. It’s well worth a read.
Today we have a nutritional and environmental deficit that is as real and as great as that of our national debt and must be addressed with forward thinking and bold, decisive action…
We realize that more conventional candidates are likely under consideration; however, we feel strongly that the next head of the USDA should have a significant grassroots background in promoting sustainable agriculture to create a prosperous future for rural America and a healthy future for all of America’s citizens.
A department that represents the interests of all members of the eating chain rather than just the big producers, and places emphasis both on subsidizing healthy food, rather than just corn and soy, and small, family farms rather than factory organisations, is a really strong idea, and one of the best changes Obama could make as he begins his presidency.