I got an email today from my friend and former colleague Liz Muller. She’s spreading the word about Food Democracy Now’s petition asking President-elect Obama to choose a Secretary of Agriculture who will lead this country toward saner agriculture and food policies.
Liz and I worked together years ago on environmental programs and policies at Gap Inc. She’s now an environmental consultant (www.lizmuller.com) helping organizations develop more sustainable products and operations; improving agricultural practices in developing nations is one of her many areas of expertise.
I’ve copied her email (with her permission) in this post — it’s good summary of why we need a progressive reformer at the helm of the Agriculture Department.
As you know, I don’t send requests on political issues. However, I feel that most of you would agree that the US farm subsidies no longer make sense and I wanted to share the below website in case you would like to encourage President-elect Obama to select someone who can begin to reform agriculture subsidies as the head of Department of Agriculture.
Let me state that I am not opposed to large-scale farming when it is done responsibly and when it makes financial sense. But the current farm subsidies not only cost US taxpayers an obscene amount of money — that we can no longer afford, they are contributing to country’s obesity problem by allowing us to eat an abundance of cheap food and sugar substitutes (corn syrup) at a time when most people can’t afford health care. These subsidies also have negative impacts — directly or indirectly — on the health of our soil and waterways as well as the ability of local, small-scale farmers in the US and abroad to merely eke out a living.
If you would like to join me in asking our President-elect Obama to appoint someone who can begin to reform our agriculture subsidies, please consider signing the petition at http://www.fooddemocracynow.org
You can read more about this issue and the Food Democracy Now petition in Nicholas Kristof’s column in the December 10 edition of the New York Times.