U.S.D.A. should make grants to rebuild local distribution networks in order to minimize the amount of energy used to move produce within local food sheds.Agricultural Enterprise Zones. Farmers should be able to smoke a ham and sell it to their neighbors without making a huge investment in federally approved facilities.Food-safety regulations must be made sensitive to scale and marketplace, so that a small producer selling direct off the farm or at a farmer’s market is not regulated as onerously as a multinational food manufacturer. Local Meat-Inspection Corps. The big meat processors have been buying up local abattoirs only to close them down as they consolidate, and the U.S.D.A. does little to support the ones that remain. The U.S.D.A. should establish a Local Meat-Inspectors Corps to serve these processors. The U.S.D.A. should also introduce a fleet of mobile abattoirs that would go from farm tofarm, processing animals humanely and inexpensively. Establish a Strategic Grain Reserve. The shift to alternative energy depends on keeping oil prices relatively stable, the sun-food agenda as well as the food security of billions of people around the world will benefit from government action to prevent huge swings in commodity prices.
A strategic grain reserve, modeled on the Strategic Petroleum Reserve, would help achieve this objective and at the same time provide some cushion for world food stocks, which today stand at perilously low levels. Governments should buy and store grain when it is cheap and sell when it is dear, therebymoderating price swings in both directions and discouraging speculation.We should create incentives for hospitals and universities receiving federal funds to buy fresh local produce. To channel even a small portion of institutional food purchasing to local food would vastly expand regional agriculture and improve the diet of the millions of people these institutions feed.There is the power of the example you set in the White House. If what needed is a changeof culture in America thinking about food, then how America first household organizes itseating will set the national tone, focusing the light of public attention on the issue and communicating a simple set of values that can guide Americans toward sun-based foods and away from eating oil.Article # 3 “Farmer in Chief”Q &A