Monday, August 3, 2015

#215 / Dear Presidential Candidates ...

[Photo From An Advertisement For Hampton Creek]
A rather pretentious full-page advertisement appeared on page 7 of the print version of the Sunday, July 26, 2015 edition of The New York Times. At least, I thought it was pretentious. Here is a copy of the text: 

You're missing an opportunity to solve an epic problem. 
It'll take your voice and little grit because this problem isn't mentioned alongside the economy and education and government in the weekly Gallup Poll of our most important problems. But polling data often ignores what's stressing out good folks from Birmingham to Boston. 
If Steve Jobs followed polling data, Apple would have shipped a Blackberry. Disney would be on the 293rd animated short of Steamboat Willie. And Sam Walton would have opened the first Walmart in New York City. Historic opportunities are missed because we fixate on what folks say they want. And what folks say they want in business (and politics) is limited by what they believe is possible. 
The problem exists in your daughter's lunch and even your Sunday family dinner. We need to fix how we feed ourselves. At Hampton Creek, we’ve built a movement—and the fastest-growing food company on earth—on that belief. 
Our outdated food system is the thread running through our most important problems, from diabetes and obesity (health care) to food deserts (race relations) to the decline of our family farms (economy). And before you solidify your stump speeches and code your website copy, ask yourself this question: what would it look like if we started over in food? Here's a thought: if we started over, good food -- for the body and our land -- would be 10x less expensive than crappy food. And if you figure out how to do that, you've just written your ticket to the conventions in Cleveland and Philadelphia. 
Our country needs you, 
Josh, CEO and Founder

PS: You can always reach me at (415) 404-2372 
or at 

It looks to me like Mr. Tetrick, the founder of a tech-based food company called Hampton Creek, based in San Francisco, actually thinks the country needs HIM. But it's nice of him to say that the country needs those "Presidential Candidates" whom he is pretending to address. A blush of modesty from a "social entrepreneur" who had raised $90 million as of March this year, is always welcome. I am less sold on Mr. Tetrick's vision of the way to  "fix how we feed ourselves."

Oh, I agree that it's time to "start over" on our "food system," alright. And I actually think it would be wonderful if presidential candidates would talk about that, and about what's likely to be involved (and if they'd reject campaign contributions from Dow and Monsanto, too). 

MORE corporate influence, however, is not my idea of the right prescription for that "start over" effort on our food system. Let's not try, once more, to cast our fate to the corporations, as Mr. Tetrick implicitly suggests, in his effort to turn his company, Hampton Creek, into a new Walmart.

Locally-produced food, without chemicals or corporate involvement, is what I'd suggest. And if there is ever going to be a "start over" in this country, with reference to our "food system," or to our politics more generally, it is going to have to come from the bottom up, from us, not from the tech-based new corporations, or the "presidential candidates."

Want to "fix how we feed ourselves?" Subscribe to a local CSA. Get involved with a community garden

Grow your own!

Image Credits:
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(2) -

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