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Organic Consumers Association

Will Obama's Second Term Bring Food System Wins - Or More of the Same?

While Grist gamely speculated on what a Romney administration would have meant for food and farm policy (short answer: nothing good), we haven't spent all that much time considering what an Obama second term will look like. His win didn't exactly leave us shell-shocked, but even so, I best make up for lost time.

When Obama was first elected, food reformers dreamed big. As Michael Pollan wrote just after the 2008 election in his open letter to the next "Farmer-in-Chief," Obama had an opportunity to make agriculture less fossil-fuel dependent, re-localize food systems, and rebuild America's food culture.

But those pleasant dreams dissolved in January 2009's cold winter light. First came Tom Vilsack as Obama's choice for agriculture secretary - not a disastrous pick, but disappointing for many critics of agribusiness. And then, after unsourced reports held that sustainable agriculture leader Chuck Hassebrook's selection as Vilsack's deputy had been quashed by unhappy farm-state senators, president-elect Obama seemed to respond by putting forward one traditional agribusiness nominee after another to populate food and farm positions in the administration.


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