Saturday March 12, 2016
The nonprofit Food Tank recently posed 10 questions on food policy to the presidential candidates in the 2016 race. Joel Salatin throws his hat in the ring and answers.
1. In 2014, a group of leaders in the food justice movement, including food writer, Michael Pollan, and former United Nations Special Rapporteur on the Right to Food, Olivier De Schutter, argued that the United States was in urgent need of a National Food Policy. Do you agree? If so, how do you plan to implement this policy?
Joel Salatin: I haven’t seen many helpful policies come out of the federal government. Official policy currently includes the right to patent life (GMOs), the right to indiscriminately spray toxic poisons all over the environment, encouragement to feed cows dead chickens and chicken manure, subsidies for land-destroying farming practices, dietary guidelines that refuse to differentiate between Twinkies and fresh-sprouted whole wheat sourdough bread. I don’t see any positives from these policies and don’t see any national will to alter these policies. Until someone can show me that more Americans want grass-finished beef and compost-grown tomatoes than their nutrient-deficient cheap counterparts, I think we’d better quit making policy to let things sort out on their own. Often the best policy is to take your hands off the airplane controls and let the plane establish its own equilibrium. We’d actually be a much healthier nation had the federal government never created a food pyramid or pushed hydrogenated vegetable oils. Since we’ve tried federal government meddling and it’s yielded disastrous results, how about we try having the federal government stand down and see what happens? Maybe we heretics would have a better chance of getting our message across instead of being burned at the stake by the USDA, FDA, Monsanto and the fraternity of orthodoxy that runs Washington.