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“Is a Food Revolution Now in Season?”

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The front page of the Sunday New York Times Business section posed the question, “Is a Food Revolution Now in Season?” and considered the promising steps already taken by the Obama administration toward the goals set by food activists, including many who have been key participants in the Slow Food movement such as Alice Waters, Michael Pollan, Eric Schlosser, and Marion Nestle.

While it’s far too soon to claim victory, and there is much work to be done in Washington and around the country, it’s an encouraging sign that more individuals may be seeing the connection between food and food policy and other major issues that face the country with respect to healthcare, energy use and conservation, economic policy, land use, and environmental sustainability.

Last Friday, on the heels of news about the groundbreaking for the White House vegetable garden, Slow Food USA president Josh Viertel wrote to members with his thoughts:

I’m writing you from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in Atlanta. I’m here meeting with Michael Pollan, Dan Imhoff, CDC staff and an extraordinary group of leaders in this region. Together we are talking about how to make a healthy food and agriculture system, and how to re-imagine what our national school lunch policy could and should look like.

Today’s ground-breaking has fueled the conversation, the commitment and the hope I’m experiencing here at the CDC.  People are feeling optimistic.

I wrote you recently about a visit to The White House. I told you about the optimism and hope I felt as I left that meeting. I didn’t tell you that while there, I looked at the lawn, and I squinted my eyes to try to imagine it, and I thought, “Someday there will be a vegetable garden here. That said they’ve got a lot on their plate, so I’m not going to hold my breath.” I guess sometimes what’s right trumps what’s reasonable.

Today they removed sod.  It’s what you’ve got to do if you want to replace a lawn with a vegetable garden. It is also hard work. I’ve done a lot of it. Once you’re done though, things look different, and the work starts to happen quickly.

It is spring starting today. We’ve still got a lot of work to do, but I’m glad knowing that the sod is removed. I think we are going to have a good growing season together.

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