Thursday, November 06, 2008

Getting to, er, Michael Pollan

Department of Better Late Than

The VI family gets two papers each Sunday, the CTrib and the NYTimes. From these, I am surest to read the Trib's sport section (not missing the weekly poker column). Next in priority is usually the Times Travel section. Leisure brings, in no particular order, the Times Book Review, the Trib Travel, the Week in Review, the front sections and maybe something in business and style. From there, onward. These days, because I try to make Sunday a, well if not at least a work day, but a productive day, I do not get too deep into my papers. Instead, around Sunday night, I start parsing and sorting and saving for some other time, as our recycler comes on Monday morning. Hopefully, in the week to come, I will get to my paper parts. A long story to say that I saved Michael Pollan's recent food polemic to re-jigger our food system, but never got around to reading it. Luckily, I happened today, to run across Michael Ruhlman's summary of Pollan's solutions to the problems in our food system.

For you readers who might bookmark Ruhlman with the idea of going back (and then, of course going back to Pollan), here's my summary of the summary. Some really good and urgent things that should happen.

—Train a new generation of farmers, spread them throughout the land, and make farming a revered profession.
—Preserve every acre of farmland we have and make it accessible to these farmers.
—Build an infrastructure for a regional food economy—one that can encourage and support the farms and distribute what they grow (rebuild or create regional distribution systems).
—Provide cities grants with which to build structures for year-round farmers markets.
—Create local meat-inspection corps so that we can create more regional slaughter facilities, perhaps the biggest impediment to our being able to find local hand raised meat. (This is huge.)
—Food stamp debit cards should double in value when swiped at a framers’ market; give farmers’ market vouchers to low-income women and children (why does he exclude men, I wonder; a different subject perhaps).
—Make changes in our daily lives: teach children how to cook; plant gardens in every primary school and equip them with kitchens; pay for culinary tuitions (or forgive loans) by requiring culinary graduates to give some service back to such undertakings such as teaching kids how to cook; increase school lunch spending by $1 a day; grow more of our own food and prepare and eat our food together at a table; accept the fact that food may be more expensive and eat less of it.

Do read what Ruhlman has to say, but do, especially, read what Pollan has to say.

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