Secretary For Sustainability

09 Dec 2008

As the U.S. Secretary of Agriculture has yet to be appointed, concerned figures from the world of sustainable food and farming sent a letter to Barack Obama’s transition team last week, suggesting six candidates with green credentials for the position.

It stated: ‘From rising childhood and adult obesity to issues of food safety, global warming and air and water pollution, we believe our next Secretary of Agriculture must have a vision that calls for: recreating regional food systems, supporting the growth of humane, natural and organic farms, and protecting the environment, biodiversity and the health of our children while implementing policies that place conservation, soil health, animal welfare and worker’s rights as well as sustainable renewable energy near the top of their agenda’.

The six named candidates, suggested for their interests in sustainable agriculture and understanding of the links between the environment, food and health, were:
1. Gus Schumacher, former Under Secretary of Agriculture for Farm and Foreign Agricultural Services and former Massachusetts Commissioner of Agriculture.
2. Chuck Hassebrook, executive director, Center for Rural Affairs, Lyons, Neb.
3. Sarah Vogel, former Commissioner of Agriculture for North Dakota, lawyer, Bismarck, N.D.
4. Fred Kirschenmann, organic farmer, distinguished fellow at the Leopold Center for Sustainable Agriculture in Ames, Iowa, and president of the Stone Barns Center for Food and Agriculture, Pocantico Hills, NY.
5. Mark Ritchie, 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.
6. Neil Hamilton, Dwight D. Opperman Chair of Law and director of the Agricultural Law Center, Drake University, Des Moines, Iowa.

The letter was signed by 90 chefs, farmers and food activists, including: Michael Pollan, Judy Wicks, Alice Waters, Rick Bayless, Wendell Berry, Eric Schlosser, Anna Lappe, Frances Moore Lappe, Paul Willis, Dan Barber, Michel Nischan, Ann Cooper, Marion Nestle, Peter Hoffman, Winona LaDuke, and Michael Dimock.

New York Times

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