Pollan, Waters influencing food politics more than we know


Blame Tom Vilsack's grandchild, blame Sasha and Malia Obama, blame 30 million American children. Blame them for this: food politics are changing mightily, and the Secretary of Agriculture is out to prove he's no longer a shill for Monsanto. Call him a convert to the ways of Michael Pollan and Alice Waters: he's got a grandchild he wants to stick around for, and he's eating organic yogurt for breakfast. (And who wants to bet it's Stonyfield Farms?)

A New York Times Sunday business section headline sums up the news coming from Washington over the past few months in a question: "Is a Food Revolution Now in Season?" As most question-mark headlines go, the article doesn't answer much, but does bring a wide number of recent news makers into focus on the central theme, will Congress ever be persuaded to act on the growing sentiment to focus on local food systems, organic foods, sustainable agriculture and to slay the all-powerful corn and soy subsidies that give us commodity food (in other words, junk food whose production is terrifically profitable for Monsanto (NYSE: MON) and Archer Daniels Midland Co. (NYSE: ADM))? The only answer seems to be that, whatever else is true, the Obamas, Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack, and many members of Congress are listening to Michael Pollan. According to the NYT: "a prominent food industry lobbyist who requested anonymity because he wasn't authorized to speak to reporters said he was amazed at how many members of Congress were carrying copies of "The Omnivore's Dilemma.""