By: John Verlinden
Food and Politics
Even though it’s still a year away the races for President and for U.S. Senator from Massachusetts are already in full swing. I couldn’t be more excited! After food, the next big passion in my life is public policy. And, every four years my “foodie” and “political junkie” alter egos get the opportunity to work together.
Food is generally not a major concern on most people’s minds when they’re evaluating candidates and their positions on issues. So far the big issues this year are the economy, health care, housing, education, tax reform, business deregulation and government spending.
Important stuff, but what’s more fundamental than food and water?
There were three tiny little stories in the news this morning that caught my attention. They weren’t related; none will probably get much attention. But, together they illustrate just how important food politics will become to each of us in the future, how complex the problems are and how difficult finding suitable solutions will be. The first story referenced a United Nations report advising that there are now 7 billion people on our planet and that a billion more will be added every twelve years, the second quoted a U.S. Department of Agriculture analysis stating that food prices in the U.S. are expected to rise 3.5-4.5% in 2011, and the third was a report that the White House will once again include healthy snacks (dried fruit) in its Halloween treats bags.
Three simple stories right, but they raise huge public policy questions. How do we feed so many people? What should we do to ensure average Americans will continue to afford and have access to food? How do we improve nutrition and address childhood obesity?
Over the next year as we suffer through the talking heads and talking points, the debates, the position papers, the mud-slinging and the annoying commercials about those other issues; in this column we’ll explore some of the important food issues we’ll be facing as a society.
Tell us what you are concerned about, share your opinion on the future of food politics, ask a question or suggest a topic for a future article – contact me: firstname.lastname@example.org or visitwww.muchogusto.com and join our food forum.
Until next time – ¡Mucho Gusto!, ¡Muchas Gracias! y ¡Buen Provecho!