Sun-based Food System = National Security

Corn Ears

Corn Ears

Last week journalist Michael Pollan wrote a letter to the President-Elect (whoever he may be) explaining how the next president's role as farmer-in-chief affects our national security -- a lot. If you don't want to read those 8,000 words, you can listen to Pollan talk through the main points with Fresh Air'sTerry Gross. Thank you to my beautiful hula-hooping, fire-spinning neighbor for the Fresh Air tip.

Michael Pollan often cites Kentucky writer/novelist/poet/essayist/farmer Wendell Berry as a guide to remaking agriculture and food production that will keep us safe and well fed. Yes. Wendell Berry's lifetime of work articulating the virtues of careful farming, local economies, and mutually beneficial community ties used to seem retro. Now we recognize Mr. Berry as the visionary who saw a way forward that will sustain our great grandchildren in safety and plenty, if we take his advice.

As I noted briefly in a Nougat article on low mileage food some time ago, I happened to be with Wendell Berry and other Kentucky agriculture policy makers on September 12, 2001. What Wendell said that day pointed to investment in local food systems as a national security matter. My commitment to supporting local growers and local food systems deepened and clarified that day, and I saw a way to take action out of the grief and loss of dark day before.