Obama and food politics: One term (nearly) down, one to go

White House Kitchen Garden. Photo by angela n. via Flickr (CC BY 2.0)

Over at Grist, Tom Laskawy posted a piece yesterday in the wake of President Obama’s reelection entitled “Will Obama’s second term bring food system wins — or more of the same?” He takes a look back at the President’s first term in office as it relates to federal food and agricultural policy, and then casts an eye to the next four years. As Laskawy notes near the end of the post,

How much will things change? … [M]y guess is the administration will return to a more reform-minded position. I’ve also heard rumors the administration will renew its push for junk-food marketing restrictions.

As for the USDA, my expectation is that [Secretary] Tom Vilsack will stay on — he has hinted he’s willing. With this year’s farm bill process still incomplete, it would be a clear case of switching horses midstream — which is never a good idea. I would also expect that his deputy, Kathleen Merrigan, will remain in place, in order to build a permanent infrastructure for the support of local and regional food within USDA through her Know Your Farmer, Know Your Food program and other below-the-radar efforts.

I’m not expecting miracles, however….

Head here for the full piece, which is a thoughtful read and includes plenty of great links.

Then, for Tom Philpott‘s assessment of “The 5 Unfinished Items that Will Shape Obama’s Food-and-Ag Legacy,” head to Mother Jones.


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