Last week, President Obama answered questions that were submitted to him via YouTube. Questions were submitted by citizens and voted on by citizens. For 45 minutes, the president answered the questions that received the most votes.
One of the questions chosen was by posed by Josh Viertel, president of Slow Food USA. He asked how the president is going to reverse the fact that a box of Froot Loops is cheap while an apple (and fruit in general) is not.
What did you think of his answer? After my first viewing, I thought he made a big mistake by starting with the fact that he believes Wal-Mart is going to lead the food companies to make processed food healthier. That’s not what was asked at all, and it shifts the focus of the question. It brings a focus on the fact that one of the reasons that Froot Loops are so inexpensive is because of the corn subsidies that the government provides that makes most processed cereals and snacks so inexpensive. Which leads me to wonder, “Where are the subsidies for sustainable apple farmers?” That would certainly make apples less expensive.
Upon a second viewing of the video, it occurred to me that the president never said processed foods. But, when he mentioned Wal-Mart and putting labels on food, that’s the only thing that entered my mind. I can’t imagine that the president, or his speechwriters, wanted to evoke that thought when they formulated the answer to the question, but that’s where my mind went. I’m not the only one, either. If you have a few minutes, read the comments on Slow Food USA’s blog about the president’s answer.
It’s not that I think the programs that Obama mentioned don’t have some merit, but I don’t think he directly answered a direct question. It’s disappointing.