12 December 2008

Highlights: Secretary of Food and the Kitchen Cabinet

I am not done with papers. I have barely started my papers. So I'm not really "posting" today, just offering a couple of highlights that I cannot keep to myself. For a full round up of this week's ecovore news check out Paula's lovely summary at Civil Eats.

Paula mentions this too, but if you have not seen Nicholas Kristof's op-ed, you should really take a look. He writes about the need to re-evaluate the position of Secretary of Agriculture. When the majority of Americans are no longer farming, but all Americans are eating, why are we not looking for a Secretary of Food? Here is the opening of his piece:

As Barack Obama ponders whom to pick as agriculture secretary, he should reframe the question. What he needs is actually a bold reformer in a position renamed “secretary of food.

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.
If you did not already see it coming, he then refers to Michael Pollan. Kristof cites a statement made by Pollan:
As Mr. Pollan told me: “Even if you don’t think agriculture is a high priority, given all the other problems we face, we’re not going to make progress on the issues Obama campaigned on — health care, climate change and energy independence — unless we reform agriculture.”
Would the Secretary of Food be part of Obama's "Kitchen Cabinet"? The San Francisco Chronicle reported on Alice Waters and a letter she wrote President-Elect Obama, offering her services, along with Ruth Reichl and Danny Meyer, to form the initial "Kitchen Cabinet" for the Obamas. She would volunteer her expertise in food-related matters: from gardening to cooking. This is an excerpt from her letter:
At this moment you have a unique opportunity to set the tone for the changes we need to make in the way our country feeds itself. The purity and wholesomeness of your campaign can find a parallel in the purity and wholesomeness of the food at America's most visible and symbolic address: the White House.
The article also writes of her failed attempts to influence Bill Clinton's eating habits. Though she apparently had better luck with Hilary Clinton, who even planted a rooftop tomato garden at the White House!

You all know I love Alice Waters, and in a few weeks I'll even be eating at her restaurant in Berkeley (!!!!), so please take a moment to read this informative and entertaining little article.

Off to the Post Office, then to proctor a make-up exam, meet with a professor, then home to write!

P.S. I made apple sauce last night. It might have been the easiest thing I ever did.