UPDATE:

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I was actually so encouraged by the vision presented by Pollan's article that I had a vision of my own. Of a t-shirt. You can buy one on Zazzle.com. I wanted to give all of my royalties to a worthy cause, and I've picked The Food Project, so 10% of your purchase will go to teaching young people about sustainable agriculture.


If you read one article about food this week, this month, this year, make it this one. Pollan's letter to the President-elect is the most succinct and accurate description of what is wrong with our food system, why everyone should care, and what we should do about it. His solutions are incredibly well-reasoned, and with a few exceptions, imminently implementable. Every paragraph had me nodding in agreement, and by the end I was resonating with passionate patriotism. There is a long road between these suggestions and a healthy food system in America, but seeing this in print is a great sign.

The rest of the issue's not bad either.

It is interesting but some of his conclusions do not make sense. He says that modern industrial farming has the advantage of federal subsidies, which is true, but then suggests that small and local farming needs similar support. But if his analysis is true then simply removing the subsidies would achieve the same goal and save the tax payers money. Also why would need a policy support local farming with increases in energy costs. Companies in charge of food production are interested in profit. If the cost of shipping food great distances becomes too costly they will do the logical thing and decentralize production to save on expenses. It seems like a common economic mistake to think that people will not change their actions in the face of changing prices. To me it seems that increased energy costs will naturally lead to more local production of not just food but of anything else. I hardly see why government intervention is necessary. If anything we need to get them to stop propping up the agricultural sector.

I agree that the goal would be no subsidies. However, what Pollan is proposing are incentives to change the system before it reaches a crisis point, change it quickly, and point it in a stable, healthy direction. Certainly things will have to change as fuel prices rise and interest in sustainable, clean food grows, but it may take a crisis to force food producers to change their methods, especially since the infrastructure of monocultures and feed lots is so established. The government, and the people, of this country, have an interest in making sure that the food supply is as stable as possible, and therefore encouraging and smoothing this transition, rather than letting everything go unregulated (as, ahem, certain other systems have illustrated,) is important.

Hooray! Just bought my t-shirt (in toddler size!). Thanks for selecting The Food Project as the recipient of your proceeds. I'm a CSA member and I love what they do!

Thanks so much!

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