Obama Cites Michael Pollan's Sun-Food Agenda


AP Photo/Charlie Neibergall

In a recent National Public Radio interview, Michael Pollan talks about how he was approached by a Democratic party staffer about his New York Times article, Farmer in Chief. The article is an open letter to the next president concerning U.S. agriculture policy. The staffer wanted Pollan to summarize the article into a page or two to get it into the hands of Barack Obama. Pollan declined, saying that if he could have said everything that needed to be said in two pages, he wouldn't have written 8000 words.

Despite the snub, it looks like the article created enough of a buzz that it made it into Obama's stack of pre-election reading material...In an interview with Joe Klein, Obama refers to the article, explaining how Pollan's ideas fit into the concept of a new energy economy.

Obama's analysis of Pollan's message:

There is no better potential driver that pervades all aspects of our economy than a new energy economy. I was just reading an article in the New York Times by Michael Pollen about food and the fact that our entire agricultural system is built on cheap oil. As a consequence, our agriculture sector actually is contributing more greenhouse gases than our transportation sector. And in the mean time, it's creating monocultures that are vulnerable to national security threats, are now vulnerable to sky-high food prices or crashes in food prices, huge swings in commodity prices, and are partly responsible for the explosion in our healthcare costs because they're contributing to type 2 diabetes, stroke and heart disease, obesity, all the things that are driving our huge explosion in healthcare costs. That's just one sector of the economy. You think about the same thing is true on transportation. The same thing is true on how we construct our buildings. The same is true across the board.

We've received no word on whether John McCain has read Pollan's article.

Note: Edited Nov 3, 2008 at 10:30 pst to reflect that Pollan was asked to write a summary of the article, not just to give his consent for someone else to summarize as I originally stated. Thanks to kendrainman in comments below.

Tipster: Nicole on ASFS listserv

via Swampland

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Tags: 2008 Elections | Agriculture | Barack Obama | Michael Pollan