Secretary Pollan?

November 18, 2008 at 5:27 pm 2 comments

pollan_as_agsec

The radio and internet have been abuzz this week with talk about food and ag writer Michael Pollan and his popularly-supported candidacy for the position of Agriculture Secretary under the next administration. Although I can’t really see him moving to Washington and wearing a suit, Pollan is certainly a big step up from current secretary Ed Schafer, or either of G.W. Bush’s previous two Ag Secretaries, all three of whom have sat idly by as America’s food system crumbles in the hands of large corporations. Pollan is a journalist, not a politician (which is probably a good thing), and he is one of America’s most vocal and most read food and agriculture activists. His books and articles have shone a new, bright light on our food system, educating Americans about the economic, health and environmental problems we face and the healthy, local and delicious alternatives available to us.

I, personally, don’t expect Pollan will actually be offered the Secretary of Ag position – Pollan himself finds the prospect unlikely and there are others with better resumes and similar politics waiting in line ahead of him (Iowa Senator Tom Harkin is just one who comes to mind) – but that’s really not the point. The point is that Michael Pollan’s contribution to America’s food future is already huge. He has educated the American public about their food, and brought food system discourse into the mainstream. The sheer fact that Americans even care who their Agriculture Secretary will be is an enormous step forward. Because of Pollan and other writers like him, food and agriculture policy is in the public eye, and Americans are working democratically to take back their food system and to make it work sustainably and fairly and for the people.

So thank you, Michael Pollan. You are the Ag Secretary of our hearts, even if you can’t be the Secretary of the USDA.

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