What's Obama Doing For the Food Industry?
Although perhaps a certain segment of the population believes he should be throwing red paint on fur-coated old ladies and boycotting West Hollywood restaurants that serve foie gras, President Obama has actually been doing a pretty good job heeding Michael Pollan's call to real action within the American food industry.
It's no secret things are all fouled up: widespread salmonella breakouts, an obesity epidemic, outrageous health care costs, and terrible conditions for industrial farm-bred livestock. We already know why our food system sucks, but what's a President supposed to do about it? Well, despite the crushing economic and political weights already placed on his shoulders, there's been major efforts from the Obama administration to address our food woes.
Tom Vilsack: He's the new Agriculture Secretary. Basically, he's the dude in charge of this whole shebang. So what's on his list of Stuff To Get Done? Well, first, more transparency in food and agriculture policy (in keeping with a general Obama Administration objective). Then, possible payment limits on agricultural subsidies (a major tax-suck and also the reason why the Corn Industry is King in America -- they have the most lobbyists!). Health and nutrition are also top his list, particularly child obesity, as well as environmental initiatives. (Read more at the USDA website.) He also wants to budget more for wildfire prevention -- a policy that would hopefully have a positive impact on California's agricultural productivity.
Vilsack's actions are crucial to the next four years of food policy, and his interpretation of the Farm Bill could have major results. California is a major and a diverse supplier of America's Foodbasket, and we will be immediately impacted by any national activity in the agricultural and energy sectors. We are also a leader for the organic and local food movement -- yes, even though we're kind of cheating, since we can grow amazing produce all year long (HA!).