Saturday, February 28, 2009

Food Democracy Now UPDATE

This just in from the good folks at Food Democracy Now who were trying to get Michael Pollen to be the Secretary of Agriculture instead of Monsanto toady Tom Vilsack. It's very encouraging that this administration is listening to our concerns, this as a good start. I'd still prefer someone else at the head who was more in touch with real food and the health of the American people as opposed to the health of major corporations, but I suppose that's not a terribly real expectation. I constantly have to pinch myself to remember that this is so much better then anything we could have ever gotten under the Bush/Cheney rule of terror. Rejoice a new day is upon us!

Your Voice has Been Heard! Please forward to all who care about these issues

Congratulations and Thank You! -A Major Victory for Family Farmers

We wanted to thank you and let you know what you’re support has achieved so far!

1. On February 24th, Food Democracy Now! met with Secretary Vilsack in his office at the U.S. Department of Agriculture and delivered the first 87,000 signatures to him with your thoughtful comments so he would know how many people care about these issues

Secretary Vilsack was very receptive to the voice that the sustainable agriculture community has put forward at Food Democracy Now! and we were encouraged with his concerns regarding the problems facing family farmers today.

2. We hope that you’ve all heard the good news that Kathleen Merrigan was selected, one of our Sustainable Dozen, to become our next Deputy Secretary of Agriculture. Merrigan is a great choice and a significant signal that the administration has heard your voice.

This is an important victory for our collective grassroots efforts and an indication that President Obama and Secretary Vilsack are serious about creating real change.

Congratulations to Kathleen Merrigan and to those of you who signed the petition. You helped make this possible!

This is the power of the grassroots and a significant accomplishment. We are going to have to continue to be engaged and involved in order to build a sustainable food system for the 21st century.

3. Continue to Send in the Sustainable Dozen!

Now that Secretary Vilsack has a great deputy, it’s more important than ever that the under secretary positions are filled with great candidates.

Please forward this to all your friends to sign the petition to support the Sustainable Dozen, so we can change how the USDA is run. It’s time to make it the People’s Department again

We need to make sure that President Obama, Secretary Vilsack and Deputy Merrigan and have the support they need when it comes time to create serious change

Thanks for signing our original letter and petition to then President-Elect Obama!

Now is the time to organize to create the Sustainable Change that you want. If you’ve already signed, please pass this along to your friends. The administration will need your support to create the change that we all want. Without it, we will not be able to accomplish all that we know is possible

If you’d like to see our grassroots efforts continue, please considering donating as little as $10 or $25. We need all your support to be able to create the change we want at the USDA.

Thank you for registering your vote. The conversation has just begun…

Send in the Sustainable Dozen!

1. Gus Schumacher: Former Under Secretary of Agriculture for Farm and Foreign Agricultural Services at the U.S. Department of Agriculture; Former Massachusetts Commissioner of Agriculture. Boston, Massachusetts.

2. Chuck Hassebrook: Executive Director, Center for Rural Affairs, Lyons, Nebraska.

3. Sarah Vogel: attorney; former two-term Commissioner of Agriculture for the State of North Dakota, Bismarck, North Dakota.

4. Fred Kirschenmann: organic farmer; Distinguished Fellow, Leopold Center for Sustainable Agriculture, Ames, IA; President, Stone Barns Center for Food and Agriculture, Pocantico Hills, New York.

5. Mark Ritchie: current Minnesota Secretary of State; former policy analyst in Minnesota’s Department of Agriculture under Governor Rudy Perpich; co-founder of the Institute for Agriculture and Trade Policy, Minneapolis, Minnesota.

6. Neil Hamilton: attorney; Dwight D. Opperman Chair of Law and Professor of Law and Director, Agricultural Law Center, Drake University, Des Moines, Iowa.

7. Doug O’Brien: current Assistant Director at Ohio Department of Agriculture; worked for the U.S. House and the Senate Ag Committee; former staff attorney and co-director for the National Agriculture Law Center in Arkansas, Reynoldsburg, Ohio.

8. James Riddle: organic farmer; founding chair of the International Organic Inspectors Association (IOIA); has served on the Minnesota Department of Agriculture’s Organic Advisory Task Force since 1991; appointed to the USDA’s National Organic Standards Board, serving on the Executive Committee for 5 years and was chair in 2005, Board of Directors. Winona, Minnesota.

9. Deputy Secretary Kathleen Merrigan: Director, Agriculture, Food and Environment M.S./Ph.D. Program, Assistant Professor and Director of the Center on Agriculture; Food and the Environment, Tufts University; former Federal Agency Administrator U.S. Department of Agriculture, Agricultural Marketing Service; creator of the Organic Foods Production Act of 1990, mandating national organic standards and a program of federal accreditation. Boston Massachusetts.

10. Denise O’Brien: organic farmer, founder of Women, Food, and Agriculture Network (WFAN); represented the interests of women in agriculture at the World Conference on Women in Beijing, China in 1995; organized a rural women’s workshop for the 1996 World Food Summit in Rome, Italy; received nearly a half million votes in her 2006 bid to become Iowa’s Secretary of Agriculture. Atlantic, Iowa.

11. Ralph Paige: Executive Director, Federation of Southern Cooperatives/Land Assistance Fund; served as presidential appointment to the 21st Century Production Agriculture Commission; participates on the Agriculture Policy Advisory Committee for Trade; the Cooperative Development Foundation; and the National Agricultural Research, Extension, Education & Economics Advisory Board. East Point, Georgia.

12. Karen Ross: President of the California Winegrape Growers Association and Executive Director of the Winegrape Growers of America; awarded the Wine Integrity Award by the Lodi Winegrape Commission for her contributions to the wine industry. Sacramento, California.

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