Michael Pollan (author of the exceptional The Botany of Desire: A Plant’s-Eye View of the World, The Omnivore’s Dilemma: A Natural History of Four Meals and In Defense of Food: An Eater’s Manifesto) offers An Open Letter to the Next Farmer in Chief in the New York Times, arguing eloquently for “resolarizing, reregionalizing and rebuilding” the US food system.
It’s long, thoughtful and tasty. Read it.
Our agenda puts the interests of America’s farmers, families and communities ahead of the fast-food industry’s. For that industry and its apologists to imply that it is somehow more “populist” or egalitarian to hand our food dollars to Burger King or General Mills than to support a struggling local farmer is absurd. Yes, sun food costs more, but the reasons why it does only undercut the charge of elitism: cheap food is only cheap because of government handouts and regulatory indulgence (both of which we will end), not to mention the exploitation of workers, animals and the environment on which its putative “economies” depend.
Here’s the punch line, in my book:
Cheap food is food dishonestly priced — it is in fact unconscionably expensive.
I think we’ve found the next Farmer in Chief.