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Dear Mr. President-Elect

October 15, 2008

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To all Americans who are following the presidential election, they know that Barack Obama and John McCain are focusing all of their energies on the current economic crisis. While the candidates are playing to what people are most concerned about these days, NY Times magazine writer, Michael Pollan addressed the next President in an open letter on necessary food policy changes.

In his letter to “Mr. President-Elect,” Pollan says the president must make the entire food system reform one of the highest priorities because the way we currently grow, process and eat food in America is the backbone of our healthcare crisis, energy dependence and climate change. Unless the next president does not make changes to food policies he will not make significant progress in other areas that are in huge trouble, here’s why:

  • The way we feed ourselves contributes more greenhouse gases to the atmosphere than anything else we do. Think about it. Farmers use chemical fertilizers, pesticides, farm machinery, modern food processing and packaging and transportation to get the food from the land to our plates.
  • Healthcare spending has significantly increased in the last few decades. In order to ensure the health of all Americans we must get those costs under control and that starts with preventable diseases. Millions of people suffer needlessly because of the poor food choices they make.
  • Countries are struggling with soaring food prices, which makes it a national-security issue. We have little control over the safety of imported foods. If we do not know exactly where our food comes from and how it was prepared we are sacrificing the health of millions.

When diet changes, everything changes. Don’t you think? If we address the way food is cultivated and delivered from the land to the plate, we could see significant changes in the climate, energy spent and healthcare spending.