I received this article through the Slow Food DC email list, which is a terrific source of information about food and ag issues. The source is North Coast Journal, and while it seems to highlight Barack’s chili recipe, first it gives a very clear and concise summary of Obama’s plans and opinions about national food and ag policy. Here are a few Q & A’s from the article:
Chef Ari: You voted for the Farm Bill, despite the enormous subsidies it provides to wealthy farmers. Why?
Barack Obama: The Farm Bill has many positive provisions, in particular, an increase in federal funding for the development of renewable fuels, which will help reduce our nation’s dependence on foreign oil. The legislation provides an additional $10.3 billion for nutrition assistance programs, such as food stamps and school lunches.
Although the Farm Bill is far from perfect, I support the legislation because it recognizes the important role of America’s farmers and ranchers, and the need to develop our rural economy. It is regrettable that John McCain [who voted against it] does not agree.
While the Farm Bill does lower significantly the income limits of farmers eligible for subsidies, it doesn’t provide as much reform as I have advocated.
As president, how would you work to hogtie this piece of runaway pork?
In part, this is due to the disproportionate role that lobbyists play in the legislative process. As president, I would work with farm state legislators to pass additional reforms to reduce wasteful subsidies.
Small farms that market to local communities are vital components of healthy local food systems. What policy initiatives would you propose to strengthen local food systems?
As president, I would implement USDA policies that promote local and regional food systems, including assisting states to develop programs aimed at community supported farms. I also support a national farm-to-school program and am pleased that the Farm Bill provides more than $1 billion to expand healthy snacks in our schools.