Use Stimulus to Invest in Food Reform

Fixing food will save health and environment
By Victoria Floethe,  Newser User
Posted Jan 12, 2009 5:19 PM CST
President-elect Barack Obama looks on at left as Agriculture Secretary-designate, former Iowa Gov. Tom Vilsack, speaks at a news conference in Chicago, Wednesday, Dec. 17, 2008.    (AP Photo)
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(Newser) – Just because Barack Obama has a lot of issues to deal with once he's sworn in, he shouldn't leave food reform off the table. Putting a bulk of the stimulus package toward local and regional food systems will cut costs and bring us back from the edge, Tom Philpott, founder of Maverick Farms, writes in Grist. Benefits: decreasing our oil dependency, bolstering an ailing environment, and lessening the cost of health care.

"The great bulk of the food consumed in this country is grown in chemical-intensive monocrops, processed until it's unrecognizable, and hauled vast distances in highway-chewing, greenhouse gas-spewing trucks," Philpott laments. Obama should consult with alternative-food-system experts to create a new infrastructure, he concludes. But for starters, why not invest in sustainable meat-farming and school cafeterias?