The Real Food Movement Gains Momentum

When I called for Michael Pollan to the be the next food czar in an earlier post, it was a bit of a pipe dream.  Although there’s a larger grassroots movement afoot to nominate him for Secretary of Agriculture, the reality is that it won’t be him.  However, there is another petition going around now  (drafted in part by Pollan and other REAL FOOD advocates) asking President-Elect Obama to consider several progressive choices for Ag Sec.   And in today’s NY Times, Nicholas Kristof takes up the drumbeat as well.

What’s so interesting– and infuriating at times– are the arguments in the comments section to Kristof’s piece from those who dont’ want a government ‘food police’ telling us what we can and can not eat.  Here’s the thing:  those of us who want a Secretary of Food (and maybe agriculture) don’t want to be told what to eat either.  We just want people to have greater freedom to eat  REAL FOOD. 

Right now, we are essentially being “told” what to eat by Agribusiness.  This powerful lobby has helped make heavily processed food made from corn, soy and rice as well as factory farmed meat and poultry exceptionally cheap.  By comparison, fresh fruits and vegetables, whole grains, and humanely raised meat and poultry are expensive, which makes choosing REAL FOOD difficult for the budget concious and impossible for the poorest of Americans.  

Sure, there are probably people who signed this petition who would like to moralize and tell us all what to eat, but I would suspect that most people (like me) just want someone to come in and level the playing field for farmers who are trying–or would like to try– to grow real food.  Real progress will be made when, calorie-for-calorie, broccoli and a box of Rice Krispie Treats cost the same.

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3 responses to “The Real Food Movement Gains Momentum

  1. Let’s see, “Real Food” would include “natural organic” like those fertilized with animal waste- the natural way, filled with all those goody microbes that create epidemics, so as to not have those nasty chemical fertilizers. Real Food would be grown to Big Brother’s, aka the Federal Government, specifications.
    Watch then how food prices would escalate thru the roof.
    Let the Agribusiness alone, else you will have food shortages never before seen by Americans.

  2. Well, using manure as fertilizer is the age old method, and if done correctly, poses minimal risk. My mother in law uses poo from her chickens and sheep as well as an organic blood and bone mix and I’ve never had a problem with the food she grows.
    And yes, using natural fertilizers would raise the cost of food, but right now our cheap food is a false economy because it does not take into account the price we pay for the environmental fallout of using chemical fertilizers or no sewage treatment in Concentrated Animal Feeding Operations.
    Truly, food is already grown to the Government’s specifications– so what’s the difference?

  3. I am so so with you on this issue! I am in the U.S. visiting right now and the one thing I miss in Australia is that food is made more often with “realer” ingredients.
    Cheers matey.

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