Only two more months of beating around the Bush.
Meanwhile, agriculture policy is being hotly debated, with the National Organic Program meeting this week in DC, and Obama's transition team looking at food issues.
Below is another take on the debate from a farm colleague here on the West Coast. Sustainable sanitation methods should be part of the conversation since they are linked to ag issues such as water conservation, returning composted manures to the soil, and reducing petroleum consumption.
How About a National Food and Agriculture Summit Early in Obama’s First Term?
There is surely a whirlwind of activity within the sustainable agriculture community as we gear up to meet head-on the opportunities suddenly afforded us in the changed political climate. And as usual, there are many organizations operating more or less independently of each other working up often duplicate policy campaigns without enough communication between them to maximally utilize the collective energies of their constituencies. I hope to see a bit more collaboration and unity in these efforts as we move forward(while recognizing that independence and diversity of thought also have their places).
Michael Pollan's " Open Letter to the Next Farmer in Chief" seems to be a blueprint capable of unifying the sustainable ag/food security/environmental stewardship/nutritional health/green energy communities. In a blog post more recently, Pollan calls for a Food Policy Czar: "progress on the all-important issues of energy independence, climate change, and health care costs depends on reform of the food system--and, crucially, an ability to connect all those dots when making policy. The challenge is to align the goals of federal agricultural policy with the goals of public health, energy, and environmental policy (for the first time)..."
Pollan has committed to writing what I've felt for all of the 30 years I've been involved in the organic movement and sustainable ag - food and agriculture policy and practice are so central to just about all other human activity that the choices we make as a society in this arena profoundly influence the nature of that activity, and of our society. I continue to feel one of the best places to exert pressure to "change the world" is with food and ag policy. So a Food Policy Czar could be a great thing.
That being said, others have written that such a Food Policy Czar might just be a vestige of old-style thinking and that now is the time to explore revolutionary new approaches to solving the unprecedented problems facing humanity.
Perhaps what might be in order then would be to try and get the Obama administration to organize a domestic food and agriculture summit with the question on the table at the outset of whether a Food Policy Czar should be appointed and what might the charter for the position look like, or whether other approaches offer better prospects for the fundamental changes needed. To have a successful summit, it would be important to have some really good people in place within the USDA bureaucracy beforehand. To have a voice in the choice of appointees to diverse positions within the USDA, go HERE.
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Chrysalis Farm @ Tolstoy
33495 Mill Canyon Rd.
Davenport, WA 99122
"From each according to their ability, to each according to their needs"
Louis Jean Joseph Charles Blanc - "The organization of work" 1839
Karl Marx - "Critique of the Gotha Program" 1875
"The purpose of agriculture is not the production of food, but the perfection of human beings"
Masanobu Fukuoka (February 2, 1913 - August 16, 2008) - "One Straw Revolution" 1978
"We will never have an organic future and a stable climate until we pull all the troops out of Iraq
and redirect our annual $650 billion military budget to greening the economy and guaranteeing
a sustainable environment and economic justice for everyone."
Ronnie Cummins, National Director, Organic Consumers Association
at the "Farms Not Arms" public forum and protest in Manhattan, September, 2007
Please consider making a contribution towards my sustainable agriculture organizing work.