Obama has completed his cabinet choices and Tom Vilsack was named Secretary of Agriculture. Nicholas Kristof of the New York Times thinks that the incoming Obama administration needs a Secretary of Food rather than a Secretary of Agriculture. With less than two percent of all Americans engaged in agriculture, and last I checked, 100 percent still needing to eat, maybe there’s some merit to this thought.
Kristof argues that the Department of Agriculture focuses on representing the farm lobby instead of people’s nutritional health needs.
The issue is seen as having such importance that a group of 90 notable figures in the world of sustainable agriculture and food have issued a letter to the incoming Obama administration:
“From rising childhood and adult obesity to issues of food safety, global warming and air and water pollution, we believe our next Secretary of Agriculture must have a vision that calls for: recreating regional food systems, supporting the growth of humane, natural and organic farms, and protecting the environment, biodiversity and the health of our children while implementing policies that place conservation, soil health, animal welfare and worker’s rights as well as sustainable renewable energy near the top of their agenda.”
For more information on what sustainable agriculture entails, you can read more at the Department of Agriculture’s website.