Dear Michael Pollan, I love you.  I love you so much that I believe you should run for President.  Sure, you’ve only got..oh…less than a month left, but I think you could really win people over with your ideas about food reform.  Hunting as sustainable agriculture?  The NRA will definitely approve!  Linking Whole Foods shoppers to conservative Christian homeschoolers?  Unique, I love it!  Granted, your plans involve millions, if not billions, of dollars of the goverment budget, but certainly feeding our people, taking care of healthcare for everyone, and lessening our dependence on foreign oil and oil in general is worth it.  Look, the Iraqi children went to school today, so that means everything’s all right there–let’s pull out!  I apologize in advance for copying so many of your lines from your fabulous NY Times Magazine Article “Farmer In Chief,” but I felt like I really needed to emphasize to the blogging community how amazing these ideas are and how worth it it is to read all nine pages.

East Atlanta Farmer’s Market, Summer 2007

Dear Blogging world, below are excerpts from Pollan’s article “Farmer In Chief.”  I think the ideas, while not brand new, are revolutionary in the fact that if the general public were aware of them (which I realize the NY Times won’t reach a large portion of the U.S.) then some real change would occur.  I apologize for not having any recipes to share–believe me, I have tons!–but I think that this political and lifestyle issue is extraordinarily important and relevant today.

So here goes:

  • Which brings me to the deeper reason you will need not simply to address food prices but to make the reform of the entire food system one of the highest priorities of your administration: unless you do, you will not be able to make significant progress on the health care crisis, energy independence or climate change.
  • After cars, the food system uses more fossil fuel than any other sector of the economy — 19 percent. And while the experts disagree about the exact amount, the way we feed ourselves contributes more greenhouse gases to the atmosphere than anything else we do — as much as 37 percent, according to one study.
  • Spending on health care has risen from 5 percent of national income in 1960 to 16 percent today, putting a significant drag on the economy. The goal of ensuring the health of all Americans depends on getting those costs under control. There are several reasons health care has gotten so expensive, but one of the biggest, and perhaps most tractable, is the cost to the system of preventable chronic diseases.
  • So America’s meat and dairy animals migrated from farm to feedlot, driving down the price of animal protein to the point where an American can enjoy eating, on average, 190 pounds of meat a year — a half pound every day.
  • The U.S.D.A. estimates that Americans throw out 14 percent of the food they buy
  • According to one study, a pound of feedlot beef also takes 5,000 gallons of water to produce
  • The final point to consider is that 40 percent of the world’s grain output today is fed to animals; 11 percent of the world’s corn and soybean crop is fed to cars and trucks, in the form of biofuels.
  • two million farmers left to feed a population of 300 million? And where farmland is being lost to development at the rate of 2,880 acres a day?
  • Food-stamp debit cards should double in value whenever swiped at a farmers’ markets — all of which, by the way, need to be equipped with the Electronic Benefit Transfer card readers that supermarkets already have.
  • And you should also let it be known that the White House observes one meatless day a week — a step that, if all Americans followed suit, would be the equivalent, in carbon saved, of taking 20 million midsize sedans off the road for a year.
  • By the end of the war, more than 20 million home gardens were supplying 40 percent of the produce consumed in America.
  • Reforming the food system is not inherently a right-or-left issue: for every Whole Foods shopper with roots in the counterculture you can find a family of evangelicals intent on taking control of its family dinner and diet back from the fast-food industry — the culinary equivalent of home schooling.
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