Rethinking US food policy

I have been out of office a lot the last weeks and in this era of e-communication this automatically means a full e-mail box. Yesterday and today I’ve made an effort to read, answer and either save or delete most of them. Among the many mails, was one that contained a link to an article written by Michael Pollan, entitled ‘Farmer in Chief’, in which he addresses the president-elect (the article was written before the elections) by saying “It may surprise you to learn that among the issues that will occupy much of your time in the coming years is one you barely mentioned during the campaign: food.”  In a very interesting article Pollan, well-known for his well-written and thought-provoking books ‘The omnivore’s dilemma’ and ‘In defence of food’, outlines his agenda for food policy reforms. What I particularly like and admire in his essay is his comprehensive approach to food, i.e. he convincingly demonstrates that food is related to a multitude of problems that contemporary society is facing: health problems (obesity and maltnutrition), environmental pollution, social and economic inequalities, etc… According to Pollan, the many food-related problems of contemporary society are on the one hand due to the reliance of the food system on fossil fuels and on the other hand due to an eating culture based on fast, cheap and easy food . The policy agenda he proposes to overcome the many problems and its causes are threefold: 1) to resolarize the farm, 2) to reregionalize the food system and 3) to rebuild eating culture. For those interested in Pollan’s vision, a 90 minute interview with him can be found on the website of the Dutch documentary programme Tegenlicht (Backlight).

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