"Renaming the department [of Agriculture]," he writes, "would signal that Mr. Obama seeks to move away from a bankrupt structure of factory farming that squanders energy, exacerbates climate change and makes Americans unhealthy — all while costing taxpayers billions of dollars."
Kristof grew up on a farm in Oregon and still owns land there. You and I pay him, a New York journalist, more than $500 a year not to grow food on it—a symbol of the greater absurdities we've gotten ourselves into over the past decades.
He asks president-elect Obama to acknowledge the importance of "change we can believe in" regarding our industrial agricultural system, which spends billions to damage the environment and make us sick with cheap food.
"The most powerful signal Mr. Obama could send would be to name a reformer to a renamed position, Kristof concludes. "A former secretary of agriculture, John Block, said publicly the other day that the agency should be renamed 'the Department of Food, Agriculture and Forestry.' And another, Ann Veneman, told me that she believes it should be renamed, 'Department of Food and Agriculture.' I’d prefer to see simply 'Department of Food,' giving primacy to America’s 300 million eaters."