It's clearly the silly season—everybody is trying to get a piece of the Obama magic. For example, the Chefs Collaborative is gathering signatures on a fawning letter to the Obamas hailing their devotion to "sustainable food issues." Naturally, the Chefs Collaborative defines "sustainable" in the usual way, organic and small-scale farming and fishing. I've got nothing against organic farming other than the inflated and scientifically false claims that many of its proponents make against conventional and biotech farming. It is true that organic methods are generally far more labor intensive than conventional and biotech farming, so perhaps the spread of organic farming would help "save or create" those 3.5 million jobs.
The CC press release announcing the letter gushes:
Chefs Collaborative, the nation's leading network of chefs and food professionals committed to sourcing and cooking with local, sustainable ingredients, is proud to announce that its letter to President and Mrs. Obama has thus far garnered signatures from 300 chefs and other food professionals across the U.S. The letter, which was first drafted in December 2008 as the keystone for the organization's new "Yes We Can" membership initiative, encourages the Obamas to continue to promote their dedication to sustainable food issues; to use the White House kitchen as an example for the rest of the nation; and to consider Chefs Collaborative and its members as resources.
Perhaps the Chefs Collaborative's effusions were provoked by the nomination of Kathleen Merrigan as deputy secretary of agriculture. As a staffer for Sen. Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.), Merrigan drafted the legislation that eventually resulted in the establishment of the national organic program. Certainly, the progressive blogosphere is thrilled with Merrigan's nomination. In addition, the Obama administration's new budget "proposes increased funding to enhance the National Organic Program through additional education and outreach, as well as enforcement to maintain labeling credibility."
I explain some of my thoughts about food moralism in my column, "I don't care where my food comes from and neither should you," And here's a link to my analysis of novelist Barbara Kingsolver's farm fictions.