Tell President-elect Obama About the Change You Want to See | Civil Eats

Tell President-elect Obama About the Change You Want to See

On Tuesday night, many people all over America celebrated the election of Barack Obama as our 44th President.  He won on a platform of fundamental change, and has invited us, the American people, back into the democratic process again.  Accepting his new post, he said:

“This is our moment. This is our time – to put our people back to work and open doors of opportunity for our kids; to restore prosperity and promote the cause of peace; to reclaim the American Dream and reaffirm that fundamental truth – that out of many, we are one; that while we breathe, we hope, and where we are met with cynicism, and doubt, and those who tell us that we can’t, we will respond with that timeless creed that sums up the spirit of a people: Yes We Can.”

Here at Civil Eats, we are focused on building a better food system through informing the public and giving a call to action.  We hope that our elected officials will hear our calls for change, and legislate such that our jobs become easier to do: helping people access good, clean and fair food, supporting farmers who also get rewarded for land stewardship, improving our health and well-being through cooking and enjoying the pleasures of the table.  The biggest change must begin at the top:  we need an advocate.

President-elect Obama has created a site for individuals to apply for a job in his administration, and to share with him our vision for this country.  I took this opportunity to write him the following letter about the heretofore neglected food-agenda:

Dear President-elect Obama,

One of the most important issues facing our country is food security.  As you know from reading Michael Pollan’s article in the New York Times, in order to address our energy policy, our healthcare system, immigration, and the environmental issues we face, we must address food in some fashion, the root of this being to stop the focus on big agriculture and to refocus on real family farms that utilize the sun much more than petrochemicals.  Market growth cannot be the bottom line in our agricultural policy, as our security as a nation depends upon our ability to support a healthy agriculture system.

I hope that you will consider all of this when choosing your Secretary of Agriculture.  It is really important that he or she be focused on sustainability, and on re-building local farming networks in America, instead of business as usual.

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I would like to see your administration take on the lobbyists for agribusiness, who are spending outrageous sums to continue our steady diet of corn and soy-based processed foods, when we know that whole foods are better for us (though not as profitable).  We have stood idly by too long while fast food restaurants profit from our unhealthiness.

It will be up to you to set an example and lead the American people on this issue.  I hope you will consider speaking directly to the American people, like FDR did in his Fireside Chats, to help re-educate our country about food and the many other subjects that you have proven so savvy at talking about up until now.

I have so much hope for this country, and will work tirelessly to bring about the change I want to see in the food system, but I cannot do it without your help at the top.  New regulations will be needed, lobbyists cannot feel so welcome in Washington, and the laws on the books must be enforced.

Thanks for all that you’ve done so far and I cannot wait until we start anew on January 20, 2009.

Paula Crossfield
Managing Editor

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For more words to the next commander-in-chief, see this article on Grist, featuring what activists in the food movement would tell our new President if they found themselves in an elevator with him.

Photo: heyitsgarrett

Paula Crossfield is a founder and the Editor-at-large of Civil Eats. She is also a co-founder of the Food & Environment Reporting Network. Her reporting has been featured in The Nation, Gastronomica, Index Magazine, The New York Times and more, and she has been a contributing producer at The Leonard Lopate Show on New York Public Radio. An avid cook and gardener, she currently lives in Oakland. Read more >

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  1. Awesome, Paula!!

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