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Much Better Mention of Food Issues by Barack Obama

October 23, 2008

Perhaps it was just pandering to his audience in Indianapolis that contained a number of potential swing voters in town for a Future Farmer’s of America conference, but I like to think not. Obama’s statement was buried deep in a long stump speech covering all of his major campaign issues, with a good dose of attacks on McCain, but it’s still important. Here is what he said:

America’s farmers are America’s future. And it’s time we had a President who understood that.

Damn straight. I’ll link again to Grist’s article weighing the two candidates’ stances on food and agriculture, which details both Obama’s calls for reform and his love affair with ethanol subsidies, but I think that perspective here might be more important than specific policies that have been articulated in the past. As Michael Pollan said, food issues for the next president (Obama, please) are going to look very different a year or two from now than they do now.

What we need is a president that is going to be able to comprehend the full weight of the American food system as our broken machinery becomes increasingly laid bare. I find it unlikely that Obama thinks enough about food issues as it is, but what’s important is that he will have an open enough mind to consider that the American food system will need serious reform if it’s going to become sustainable.

It’s time we had a president that understands that.

Full text of Obama’s speech, pertinent quote on page 6.

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