Things That Matter For Foodies: Obama’s USDA Pick

Barack Obama was elected into office with nothing but high expectations following him. Many, if not most people who voted for him, are looking to Obama to finally be the President who will carry out some kind of policy that jives with their vision of how the world should be.

It might seem as though certain topics or matters wouldn’t fall under the umbrella of things that Obama should fix, but that’s definitely not the case when it comes to food. For one thing, as most people who care about food know, the Farm Bill is a disaster (hence the cries for a Michael Pollan appointment to Secretary of Agriculture). For another, Obama has had a fair amount to say on the subject of farms and hunger, plus, he is reported to personally care about vegetables and healthy-eating.

… Which is why it makes sense that his goals for the USDA are being closely watched. After all,

In cash-strapped times, the challenges of mounting new initiatives are daunting. And the USDA is still battling long-running problems: subsidy programs that give huge sums to ineligible, millionaire farmers; a food inspection system that puts Americans at risk for food-borne illnesses; and nutrition programs that fail to identify more than 30 percent of Americans who live in poverty and are at risk of hunger every month.

Beyond all that, reports have shown that large, wealthy farms are benefiting from subsidies intended for small, struggling farms, which Obama has called “a prime example of the kind of waste I intend to end as president.”

Basically, things are a mess on many levels, and this is stuff that really matters, at pretty much any strata of society, and pretty much anywhere in the country. Take Philly: we have quite a few hungry people — both in the very grave sense, and in the sense that we have many great restaurants that are affected by food regulations (and in turn, so are our wallets). It will be interesting to see where this goes.

At USDA, Taking on Ambitious Goals and Intractable Problems [Washington Post]


Things That Matter For Foodies: Obama’s USDA Pick