Wednesday, February 2, 2011

A Food Manifesto for the Future

Mark Bittman has an excellent article up on the NYT opinion's page today. Read it in its entirely HERE. His primary suggestions for creating a sustainable food-system for the future includes ending subsidies for corn/soy which generally end up as feed for animals and as "food products" for processed foods. He also suggests splitting up the USDA, which I think is rather novel. Essentially, the USDA is in charge of both making healthy food recommendations for Americans and promoting our big agri-business, these missions are in conflict with one another as they are currently constructed and health loses to profit everytime. He'd like to see those subsidies transferred to non-monoculture farms that seek to feed people directly, through food rather than food products, and the encouragement of farmers and super markets in food deserts. There are a few other excellent suggestions, but one that his suggestion for ending mono-culture, big-ag doesn't hit on is a major problem nobody seems to talk about: ending the presidential primary season starting in Iowa. No candidate, Democrat or Republican would make it through the Iowa primary to stand a chance in the later primaries, if he or she advocated the ending of subsidies for corn/ just wouldn't happen and this is a problem for the rest of us. The current primaries are a problem, where states like Iowa, New Hampshire and South Carolina get to dictate who the rest of the states get to consider for their candidates. I like the idea of regional primaries where the first set in the regional primaries would rotate--so, a Northeastern region, Mid-West, West, Rocky/Plains, Southeastern, Southwestern, etc.

As it stands right now, this reform movement cannot come out of presidential politics because Iowa is too powerful, let alone big agribusiness in general. Anyway, check out Bittman's article.

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