Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Department of Food

I like this idea, but I seriously doubt it will happen. The appointment of former Iowa Gov. Tom Vilsack for Agriculture Secretary is a step in the right direction though.

From Nicholas Kristoff’s article in The New York Times: A Department of Agriculture made sense 100 years ago when 35 percent of Americans engaged in farming. But today, fewer than 2 percent are farmers. In contrast, 100 percent of Americans eat. Renaming the department would signal that Mr. Obama seeks to move away from a bankrupt structure of factory farming that squanders energy, exacerbates climate change and makes Americans unhealthy — all while costing taxpayers billions of dollars.

From Wayne Pacelle’s (Humane Society of the United States) blog: As columnist Nicholas Kristoff wrote last week in The New York Times, the agency should be renamed the Department of Food, and move beyond its traditionally narrow focus as a promoter of agribusiness. It needs to elevate food safety, animal protection, environmental protection, and local, sustainable and organic agriculture, and think about serving 300 million American consumers, rather than just the small number of people involved in corporate agribusiness.