The Rainier Valley Food Bank ran out of canned goods recently. When we heard about it, we went out to Costco, got some stuff, and made a small donation – not because we’re super-groovy people (although there is that to consider), but because it needed to be done. A small drop in a very big ocean, to be sure. Then again: from each, according to his abilities; to each (hopefully), according to his needs. Or something like that.
There was an interesting piece by Michael Pollan in the New York Times magazine this weekend, regarding some of the food-related issues the next president should address. Oddly enough, I’ve recently been thinking about some of this stuff myself. While I don't know that I'm onboard with everything Pollan asks for (the barcode idea seems especially dippy, for example), on the whole I think he's on target.
The idea of intentionally making food more expensive is going to be a tough sell, given the way things are going at the moment. (And may well continue going, as far as I can tell. Given all the expert economist bullshit we’ve been fed all our lives about the market being self-regulating, I don’t think anybody really knows where the economy is headed at the moment.) While I agree that the prices are being artificially propped up, seeing the food bank running out of good this early in “The Crisis” makes me wonder how those props can be removed without creating more economic stress for folks who aren't really getting by as is. Also, it's going to be a task to convince a generation (or two) raised on McDonald's that that good whole food is just as tasty as the processed stuff.
On the other hand, it is really exciting to think that we are on the brink of having an administration in power that won't necessarily dismiss this sort of thing out of hand. I can’t imagine a Bush government addressing… well, anything Pollan mentions, really, and I have no reason to believe that a McCain White House would be any different on that score. On the other hand, I could totally see Barack Obama pushing the idea of, say, Victory Gardens.
One of the things about last week’s presidential debate was when Obama mentioned wanting to deal with the search for alternative energy sources as we did the race to the moon. If he could tie some of Pollan's ideas into that, I'd be pretty damn happy.