National Food Policy

Bittman, Pollan Call For a New National Food Policy

Earlier this week Michael Pollan, Mark Bittman, Ricardo Salvador and Olivier De Schutter published an impactful article on a call to the next president of the United States to develop and implement the country’s first National Food Policy.

America is at a critical point in regards to food, health and the environment. The current “system” is governed in a piecemeal fashion, with eight different federal agencies overseeing a number of issues that are all fundamentally connected to our food system: diet-related chronic disease, food safety, marketing to children, labor conditions, wages for farm and food-chain workers, immigration, water and air quality, greenhouse gas emissions, and support for farmers.

“We must commit not just to feeding but to nourishing our citizens,
especially our children.”

The authors bring up an excellent point: while political candidates are expected to present their stance on topics such as education, environment, defense and gun control, they should do the same in regards to our national food system. They suggest this is the first step: have the current presidential candidates put forth their own NFP. Second step: begin outlining what that NFP would look like in action, which Pollan, Bittman, Salvador and De Schutter took liberty of doing. The article is divided into sections: The Opportunity, The Agenda and The Action. While they are clear that this is not meant to be entirely comprehensive, it is a sobering account of where we are and an admirable proposal of what needs to happen. And it is abundantly clear that the time is now.

“The National Food Policy is therefore not simply about food. It’s about health, it’s about rural landscapes, it’s about the environment, it’s about education, and it’s about poverty. It is also, ultimately, about whether democracy can respond — about our ability to move away from the policies we’ve been trapped in since the 1970s. The problems have changed since then; the change in policies to meet the new challenges we face is long overdue.”

Further Reading

A National Food Policy for the 21st Century: A memo to the next president – Pollan, Bittman, Salvador & De Schutter

Why The Next President Will Need a National Food Policy – Pollan, Bittman, Salvador & De Schutter

The 50 Year Farm Bill – Wendell Berry & Wes Jackson

$11 Trillion Reasons – Mark Bittman

Photo Credit: Ilana Freddye

Don't hold back, share your thoughts