Greetings. My name’s Tom Strong, formerly of The Yellow Line and wheat think, and I’m here to write about food politics and agricultural policy.

Food politics is a hot subject nowadays – consider the recent success of Fast Food Nation, Super Size Me, and The Omnivore’s Dilemma. It’s also a great point for examining how the personal meets the political. Yet it’s hard to find much about food topics on political blogs like this one, and when they are explored politically it’s often from the extremes. I’m more interested in approaching current food and agriculture questions journalistically, with a minimum of cant and a maximum of fact-finding.

That said, everyone has their conflicts of interest and here are mine. Although I’m in the midst of a career change, I’ve worked in the organic food industry as a retailer, marketer, and educator for the past five years. I regard the organic industry as occupying a middle ground – perhaps in some ways a radical middle ground – between the industrial agribusiness model on one hand, and the developing “local” food movements on the other. I am deeply interested in all three of these supply chains, and regard them all as useful and necessary, but I’m probably most sympathetic to the local food chains (perhaps because I like to root for the underdog).

As an eater, I’m all over the map. I’m an omnivore, like all humans; I’ve been a vegan in the past, but am no longer. I’m an amateur chef and baker, and spend a much greater percentage of my income on food than do most Americans. I also take great pleasure in what I eat, though perhaps not quite as much as this guy.

I’m honored to discuss the top edible issues of our times with you. Many thanks to Justin for having me.

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