Saturday, November 15, 2008

foodies loose their focus?

While I honor and respect idealism more than the next guy (it is encapsulated in my blog title after all), I am disgruntled to see this post on the Comfood listserv this morning:
I have just begun and am soliciting help in my quest. I would love it if you could assist me in getting the word out.Direct link to petition:

And my blog (petition can be signed directly from blog):
I would first like to thank Blane Friest and welcome him to the movement and the 493 signers of the petition for thinking big and having passion. While this is an exciting time in the US to push for change, we (the food movement) have to be strategic and realistic about our agenda. A good friend once told me, "passion without focus is futile" and it indeed is. Not understanding the history of US Agriculture, not understanding the status quo and not understanding politics may be our biggest downfall. While we all want to move mountains, my friend, mentor, and farmer Mary Jo Forbord would ask “do you think it doesn’t make any difference to move a glacier an inch?” I had to admit, that’s a pretty powerful movement. It has helped me through discouragement time and time again. Progress can be slow, but you never know when a breakthrough will occur. "Mice make elephants dance"

"The solutions are in the connections."

The idea for Michael Pollan for Secretary of Agriculture is far fetched. Lord knows he won't want to take the salary cut. But what can we do? I think that the great Debra Eschmeyer said it best:
It has been quite public who the main candidates are:

Rounding out the list of prospective nominees are Former Iowa Gov. Tom Vilsack, National Farmers Union President Tom Buis, House Agriculture Chairman Collin C. Peterson, D-Minn., Kansas Gov. Kathleen Sebelius, North Dakota Agriculture Commissioner Roger Johnson and and former Senate Majority Leader Tom Daschle, D-S.D. (House 1979-87; Senate 1987-2005).

Why not use this opportunity instead to educate the new Administration-elect on what our priorities are for a good, fair, and safe food system?

Let's not talk about individuals, let's talk priorities through policies and action. Here are some very quick examples:

Child Nutrition Reauthorization--Every four or five years (coming up in 2009), there is an opportunity for all of those concerned with the health of our nation’s children to evaluate, defend, and improve the federal Child Nutrition Programs. Nourishing kids and community is the promise of farm to school. With the authorization of the National Farm to School Program in 2004, and the tremendous growth and interest in farm to school programs, the time is ripe to support that promise and voice ideas that include locally and regionally grown foods in national meal programs. Learn more:

Other Campaigns underway:Eat the View: "Eat the View" is a campaign to urge President-elect Obama to replant a large organic victory garden on the First Lawn with the produce going to the White House kitchen and to local food pantries."Eat the View" is coordinated by Kitchen Gardeners International, a Maine-based 501c3 nonprofit network of 10,000 gardeners from 100 countries who are inspiring and teaching more people to grow some of their own food.

White House Organic Garden: TheWhoFarm (aka The White House Organic Farm Project) is a non-partisan, petition-based initiative to respectfully request that our 44th President oversee the planting of an organic farm on the grounds of The White House, our nation’s First Home, at 1600 Pennsylvania Ave, Washington, DC.

Food Declaration: The Declaration is meant to provide 1) A clear statement of what kind of policy is needed now, endorsed by a broad base of organizations and individuals with a long-established commitment to a healthier food and agriculture.; 2) An invitation to all Americans to join in the improvement effort by taking action in their own lives and communities and by offering them a way to call on policymakers to support comprehensive change. 3) A set of principles from which policy makers can craft policy that will lead to a healthier system.

This topic is also covered by Steph Larson at Ethicurean.

And now for something completely different:

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