On Obama’s Food Agenda
Susan directed me to "A food agenda for Obama" by Christopher D. Cook of the Christian Science Monitor. Cook suggests nine elements for Obama's food policy:
1. New public investments targeting sustainable agriculture, defined as organic, small- to mid-sized, diversified farming.
2. New investments in local/regional food networks and foodsheds – to help build up the connections between farmers and consumers, to open up and expand new markets for organic farmers and those considering the transition; for more farmer's markets and food stores that feature local produce.
3. A moratorium on agribusiness mergers, and strenuous antitrust provisions and enforcement to protect what little is left of diversity in the food economy.
4. A moratorium on all new genetically modified (GMO) products, and an expansion of existing ones, and appointment of a blue-ribbon panel/commission to assess the impact of GMO foods on our environment and our health.
5. A moratorium on – and gradual phasing out of – concentrated animal feeding operations, aka factory farms, which are among the nation's top polluters of water and air, and breeders of widespread and virulent bacterial strains.
6. Dramatically expanded regulatory enforcement and staffing in the US Department of Agriculture and the Food and Drug Administration to protect food safety and meat industry labor and environmental practices.
7. Slowing the hazardously fast meatpacking (and poultry) assembly line, to protect workers and consumers.
8. Incentives for small-scale urban, suburban, and rural farming ventures oriented toward diversified local food systems.
9. Bold public investment in a raft of public awareness campaigns that build support, and expand markets and demand, for sustainable alternatives such as urban agriculture and gardening, and reducing fast-food consumption.
Number ten is: "Fill in the blank, and send me your thoughts at www.christopherdcook.com."
Of course, this all has a premise of unnecessary use and slaughter of sentient nonhumans. My question is: What would you add that is not a welfare measure (I'm assuming you'd want to avoid that), and has a chance of being included? Maybe something about vegan selections in every school cafeteria and a rethinking of the food pyramid that is used by schools? How about some kind of financial/health insurance incentive/advantage for people vegans? (Though that's not really under agriculture, I guess.)