- Michael PollanProfessor, Berkeley Graduate School of Journalism
Michael Pollan, Lead the Food Movement to Corn Price Floors
Michael Pollan has told me that he understands that the farm and food crises identified in food films and food books are not caused by commodity subsidies, but rather are caused by a lack of price floors, supply management, reserves, and price ceilings. And yet everywhere I've seen him on video, (ie. in the food films, on Bill Moyers Journal, and all over YouTube,) he suggests that the major (US Farm Bill, Commodity Title) policy cause and solution involves only commodity subsidies (ie. he repeatedly says nothing about the other policies which I've listed above). We see then that the food movement's advocacy on these matters for the 2007-8 farm bill was overwhelmingly, (and surely unknowingly,) for policies that preserve the multibillion dollar (multibillions annually for Cargill and ADM) price gains that, in fact, serve as the major policy cause of the problems. I'm asking for Pollan, from his bully pulpit, to sound the call for reversing course, and leading the charge in the direction of victory.
- Professor, Berkeley Graduate School of Journalism
You are our most prominent movement leader. You have a bully pulpit like none of the rest of us has, and like no family farm leader has ever had in my lifetime. For example, you're in a YouTube video with more than 1 million views, and I have a rebuttal which, today, has 92 views.
You have told me privately that you know that the horrendous problems identified in the new food films and books are caused by a lack of: price floors, supply management, reserves and price ceilings, (a lack of the policies championed by the National Family Farm Coalition). These policies were reduced from 1953-1995, and then ended in 1996. Most people in the food movement, apparently, have never even heard of them.
Meanwhile, in the films Food inc. Fresh, King Corn, and in all of the online videos of you I've seen, (and there are a lot at YouTube and elsewhere,) you refer to subsidies as the policy cause (ie. "subsidized corn"), and make no mention of the needed policies (ie. of NFFC's Food from Family Farms Act).
The policy cause you have identified, then, is commodity subsidies, and by implication, the policy solution you're telling everyone to pursue, is simply to change/cap/green/eliminate commodity subsidies. While there can be some limited uses for some of those policies, in the big picture, they have virtually no impact on cheap corn, (as I prove 4 ways in the attached video). Those policy solutions (subsidy reform) involve none of the major Commodity Title policies (listed above) that will actually produce the results that we need: fair trade, living wage, non volatile grain price, supply management, and reserve supply programs.
What is the point of my using "Start a Petition" here to "Target Federal Elected Officials" to act on these policies, when this unprecedentedly huge, very active food movement is usually advocating on the wrong side of this, the major farm and food problem, (that you and other movement leaders have so successfully brought to the attention of the nation)?
In sum, you know, commodity subsidies don't cause cheap corn, (or at least you told me in Iowa City that you did). The US federal policy cause is the weakening and elimination of the New Deal, nonsubsidy farm programs (price floors and ceilings, supply management, and reserves). But, like geese flying north in the fall, the food movement formation is radically off course on this huge issue, with you flying at the point of the "V." You must change course, immediately, and bring the flock back around with you.
Come here, to change.org, to "Start a Petition." Bring with you Robert Kenner (Food Inc.), Eric Schlosser (Food Inc.), Ana Sofia Joanes (Fresh), Marion Nestle, Daniel Imhoff "Food Fight," or similar food movement leaders, and start a petition to Iowa's Senator Tom Harkin (former champion of these policies, in his Harkin-Gephardt Farm Bill), to demonstrate to the Agriculture Committees in Washington D.C. that this enormous food movement is no longer flying in reverse gear on these crucial federal policies, these enormous farm and food crises.
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