Wednesday, November 09, 2016

The Future of Our Food: Post-Election Pondering

It seems like almost everyone, from pollsters to pundits to journalists to voters and non-voters alike, was taken by surprise by the results of this week's election. For myself, I'm still trying to get my brain to form synapses that connect a reality TV celebrity, accused sexual predator, racist and President-elect of the United States into a coherent whole. So far it eludes me.

How it's all going to shake out, well, that's the big question, isn't it?

Farmer supporting ban on GMO crops in Jackson Co.

Given that the Republican party habitually takes a hard right in the direction of industry, and with both houses of Congress and the White House in Republican hands, it stands to reason that a Trump administration will be pretty industry-heavy. Including in the food and agriculture sectors, where, according to an article in the magazine Modern Farmer, his list of 65 agriculture advisors is "a who’s who of industrial agriculture advocates, including senators, governors, state ag commissioners and agribusiness executives," going on to point out that "it’s safe to say that the Trump ag team supports feedlots over farmers' markets."

Concentrated animal feeding operation (CAFO).

So I've decided to put together my own list of "advisors" and ask them what we can expect going forward under this new administration and what, if anything, we need to be doing about it. What are the major issues? Who should we be paying attention to? What questions should we be asking?

The series will be called, as it is above, The Future of Our Food, and it'll start with a report on a recent New York Times LookWest panel I attended before the election titled, coincidentally, "The Future of Food in Portland" moderated by New York Times staff food writer Kim Severson. Other installments over the next few months will include interviews with farmers, food activists, plant breeders and policy wonks to try to get a handle on this seismic shift in our food landscape.

Read the second installment in this series: New York Times Looks West.

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