Next time you bend a knee at the altar of food activist/journalist Michael Pollan, know this: the man eats hot dogs. Granted, they’re five bucks apiece and made from giddy, grass-fed cows that roam the hills of Central California, but a dog’s a dog. Still, the reluctant leader of the sustainable food movement and best-selling author of The Omnivore’s Dilemma and In Defense of Food is nothing less than frank when addressing our failing food policies. Read it and eat.

What’s the single most important food-policy change President-elect Obama should make? Appoint a food policy advisor to the White House, someone who has the president’s ear and can connect the dots between our agricultural policy and its effects on climate change or public health or the environment. We need someone who can drive the fossil fuel out of the food system so that we’re eating sunlight and not oil.

Do you really think Obama should tear up part of the White House lawn to grow a vegetable garden? Nancy Reagan redecorated the inside of the White House—why not start on the outside? It would send the powerful message that food really matters.

Why do you think the sustainable food movement gets dubbed elitist? Because organic food is usually more expensive. There’s this sense that if food is cheap, it’s more populist. But what makes it so populist to give your money to Burger King rather than to a struggling local farmer? And what’s so elitist about recognizing that you have to pay for quality? I think it’s a perception that will change over time. I mean, you can find organic food in Wal-Mart now.

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