On the eve of President Obama’s State of the Union address, Mark Bittman provides his own take on the “State of Food” in a piece appearing in the New York Times.

Bittman calls again for a national food policy, higher wages, and for us to address the issue of antibiotics in the food system. Like others, Bittman would like to see strong labeling, a reduction in greenhouse gas emissions, and for the nation to deal with poverty and hunger in stronger, more effective ways.

For this piece, Bittman consulted with some key people in the food movement. He quotes Michael Pollan on what Pollan would like to hear President Obama say, below:

“I am expanding the portfolio of my new senior policy adviser for nutrition policy, Deb Eschmeyer, to encompass all the policy areas that food touches: agriculture, nutritional health and environmental health. She will be charged with harmonizing our policies across these three areas, so that, for example, our agricultural policies contribute not just to the prosperity of American farmers but to the health of our people and the land.”

In this piece, which echoes some of the themes in his co-authored Washington Post op-ed calling for a national food policy, Bittman provides good insight into the variety of challenges facing us on the food front. A must read.

A special note from UC Food Observer: Mark Bittman will be taking a lead role in UC Berkeley’s Edible Education 101 program, which starts on Monday, January 26th, and will be live streamed, free. We hope that you will participate. More information is available here.