Sign this Ag Sec petition: It’s worth a shot
Updated Dec. 12: Nicholas Kristof mentioned this in his NY Times column yesterday, and the number of signers is now over 36,000! If we can get it to 100,000 in the next few days, that would mean serious pressure for Obama to appoint a reformer as Secretary of Agriculture. Sign the petition now >
Around 90 sustainable-ag/food stalwarts — including Michael Pollan, Alice Waters, and Bill Niman — have sent a letter to the Obama transition team, listing six awesome candidates for what they called “the sustainable choice for the next U.S. Secretary of Agriculture.” Any one of them would be a great ally for the food movement:
- 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.
- Chuck Hassebrook, Executive Director, Center for Rural Affairs, Lyons, NE.
- Sarah Vogel, former two-term Commissioner of Agriculture for the State of North Dakota, attorney, Bismarck, ND.
- Fred Kirschenmann, organic farmer, Distinguished Fellow, Leopold Center for Sustainable Agriculture, Ames, IA and President, Stone Barns Center for Food and Agriculture, Pocantico Hills, NY.
- Mark Ritchie, current Minnesota Secretary of State, former policy analyst in Minnesota's Department of Agriculture, cofounder of the Institute for Agriculture and Trade Policy.
- Neil Hamilton, attorney, Dwight D. Opperman Chair of Law and Professor of Law and Director, Agricultural Law Center, Drake University, Des Moines, IA.
(Photos of the six are arranged above in order of this list)
Well, that letter has been turned into an online petition at Food Democracy Now, where you can all sign it. Policy wonkette Steph Larsen has argued persuasively here that realistically, candidates for AgSec had to have launched their behind-the-scenes campaigns months ago. But the fact that this Cabinet post is one of the last to be filled, and that the Obama team's short list has changed more often than Madonna does concert outfits (here's the WashPo's latest prediction of the top three), make it seem like we've got a shot at influencing the choice.
The petition was written and launched by its first signatory and its apparent mastermind, Dave Murphy, who tells me he is "a sixth-generation Iowan and an advocate for sustainable agriculture. In 2007, he organized the Iowa Farmers Union Food and Family Farm Presidential Summit. He works as a writer and consultant and lives in Clear Lake, Iowa."
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