Groundbreaking for the new White House kitchen garden has lit up the food blogosphere as well as the mainstream press. But longtime food advocates who've been toiling away on sustainable food issues for years--and won many significant victories--are worried they're going to be overrun by food celebrities who think they know better what the Obama administration needs to do.
It's still a fractured movement with no real plan. Food isn't even listed on the agenda at Obama's White House website and Agribusiness remains in incredible force. Just think: the entire organics foods industry represents only a "rounding error" in the nation's trillion dollar food economy, or just 3 percent.
In an excellent New York Times summary perspective on where food is headed now, Ferd Hoefner, policy director of the Sustainable Agriculture Coalition sums up our own feelings neatly. Commenting on the new White House garden he says, "We just want to make sure that interest in that symbolic action can be channeled into some of the more difficult policy challenges.”
Also worth a read is this paper from the Rudd Center at Yale University asking whether Big Food is the present-day equivalent of Big Tobacco, prepared to say and do anything anything to maintain its grip on U.S. consumer dollars. Here's a link to the pdf version.