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Rumors flying about the U.S. Department of Agribusiness as Usual

In the mad scramble preceding Tuesday's droolingly anticipated handover of executive power, there are a lot of politics happening at light speed. And some of them, apparently, are bad news — especially if you're someone who eats food. Yes, that would be you, me, and everyone we know. The rumor mill is...

Show Senator Pat Roberts that small farmers aren’t little GQ-reading dilettantes

Former Iowa governor Tom Vilsack went before the Senate Agriculture Committee today to be confirmed as Secretary of Agriculture. Brownfield has a short recap of the run-of-the-mill comments, the Senate Ag Committee page has a webcast archived, but go straight to Chris Clayton at the DTN Ag Policy Blog for...

SupportVilsack.com: Wethinks they doth profess too much

A very odd site mysteriously popped up last week, with a banner headlined "Support Tom Vilsack for Secretary of Agriculture" and featuring both smiley and serious-but-loving shots of the former Iowa governor, as if he were some sort of agricultural Mr. Rogers. Paid for by honchos from large organic food...

Local food safety cop?: In which Bill Marler is compared to John Travolta, Ally McBeal, Julia Roberts, and 80s pop star Tiffany, all in one place

Earlier this week, Bill Marler, the attorney who’s earned oodles suing food companies for selling products contaminated with E. coli and other pathogens (his wife's car even sports an ECOLI license plate), published his list of top 10 food safety challenges for 2009. Most of these items made me nod my head...

Gary Nabhan: Those who forget history are doomed to re-eat it

Above the din of the enthusiastic multitude of Green Festival attendees in San Francisco, renowned author, ethnobotanist, food preservationist, and historian Gary Paul Nabhan gave a whirlwind tour of topics with global, regional, and personal scope. Nabhan started with a big-picture perspective. The current...

AgSuck: Looks like Tom Vilsack to head USDA

The New York Times' Caucus blog is reporting that President-Elect Obama has settled on former Iowa governor Tom Vilsack as his Secretary of Agriculture. While just a few weeks ago I wrote that Vilsack didn't seem like the most horrible choice for AgSec, compared to some of the other names being floated...

Ag sec revisited

by Steph Larsen In the five weeks since the election and almost a month since my first post about the Secretary of Agriculture, a lot has changed. But one thing has become increasingly clear: the people that voted for Barack Obama expect change at the head of USDA. The next person to head the Department of...

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...

How to change the USDA: Look beyond the Secretary of Agriculture

By Steph Larsen In my last post for the Ethicurean, I discussed likely candidates for Secretary of Agriculture in the Obama Administration and encouraged you to voice your support or dislike of the names being floated to Obama’s transition team. You can have an impact: in large numbers, voices of the people...

Do know eVilsack: Former Iowa governor perhaps not such a bad potential Ag Sec?

Last week Friend o'Ethicurean and Rural Policy Organizer Steph Larsen wrote a guest post about the realpolitik choices President-Elect Obama's transition team are reportedly considering for Secretary of Agriculture. Today Steph's colleague at the Center for Rural Affairs in Nebraska, John Crabtree — a...

Wait an Ag Sec: Getting real about who will head the USDA

By Steph Larsen Editor's note: With readers clamoring in the comments section and a petition started for President-Elect Barack Obama to appoint Michael Pollan as Secretary of Agriculture (read Pollan's response below), I asked a Beltway-savvy acquaintance to summarize just how fertile the landscape for...

The Bi-Rite Stuff: Sam Mogannam takes grocery retailing to new heights

The San Francisco Chronicle has scooped us here at Edible San Francisco by just a few days, writing about the new venture of Bi-Rite Market grocery store owner Sam Mogannam: Farming. I wrote our cover story for the October/November issue on Sam, the Bi-Rite Farm (that's him in action above), and the history...

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