I wish I could “friend” Michelle Obama — in real life, not on MyFace or whatever that thing is called.
Last week, she sent a verbal Valentine to community gardens. More recently, she snuck a bunch of reporters into the White House kitchen, where she sang the praises of local food. According to a New York Times report, the First Lady served up a discourse worthy of the Berkeley sustainable-food doyenne Alice Waters:
When food is grown locally, [Obama] said, “oftentimes it tastes really good, and when you’re dealing with kids, you want to get them to try that carrot.”
“If it tastes like a real carrot, and it’s really sweet, they’re going to think that it’s a piece of candy,” she continued. “So my kids are more inclined to try different vegetables if they are fresh and local and delicious.”
Now, some wags might protest that, as the Times reports, Wagyu beef appeared on the menu that night. Was it imported all the way from Japan? Fed on grass — or industrial corn? Why isn’t the White House sourcing beef from celebrated, pastured-based nearby farms like Polyface?
All legit questions, but … when can we come by and perform a perfection-check on your fridge and larder?
I like Ms. Obama, not just because she can wax Waters-esque about carrots. I also admire her sharp critical edge — the one she displayed during the campaign, when she made her famous speech about being proud of America for the first time in a while.
She got pilloried by cable TV hosts and muzzled by campaign handlers, but she had a point: 30 years of stagnant wages, a Ponzi-like financial system reliant on a series of absurd bubbles, a hollowed-out education system, the buildout of a high-profit, low-nutrition, high-polluting food system, the willlful refusal to address vital issues like climate change…
As Ms. Obama finds her sea legs aboard the good ship White House, I hope she continues to explore her inner locavore — and season it with a dash of critical political/economic thought.