There has been a lot of hope and attention being paid to President-Elect Obama’s pick for the Secretary of Agriculture. The hope comes from the fact that Obama’s transition team has already reached out to the leaders of sustainable agriculture organizations across the country, including Brian Snyder, the wonderful director of PASA—Pennsylvania Association for Sustainable Agriculture.
It is now time for you to weigh in! The sustainable ag community and its advocates (including Michael Pollan) have put together a short list of six possible candidates for the position and are collecting signatures for this online petition. I have seen four of the six candidates speak at the PASA-Farming for the Future Conference and they would all be amazing – these four are Sarah Vogel, Fred Kershenmann, Mark Ritchie, and Neil Hamilton – and I am sure the other two candidates are just as qualified.
Time is of the essence, Obama is expected to make his decision very soon, a decision that will effect the way we eat for years to come, so please sign the petition!
For more information about this issue and Obama’s policy’s regarding agriculture check out a recent Bill Moyer’s Journal:
Obama's policy on agriculture on his transition website: http://change.gov/agenda/rural_agenda/
And here is a quote from President-Elect Obama:
There is no better potential driver that pervades all aspects of our economy than a new energy economy. I was just reading an article in the New York Times by Michael Pollan about food and the fact that our entire agricultural system is built on cheap oil. As a consequence, our agriculture sector actually is contributing more greenhouse gases than our transportation sector. And in the mean time, it's creating monocultures that are vulnerable to national security threats, are now vulnerable to sky-high food prices or crashes in food prices, huge swings in commodity prices, and are partly responsible for the explosion in our healthcare costs because they're contributing to type 2 diabetes, stroke and heart disease, obesity, all the things that are driving our huge explosion in healthcare costs. That's just one sector of the economy. You think about the same thing is true on transportation. The same thing is true on how we construct our buildings. The same is true across the board.
And finally, here is a recent New York Time's op-ed by Nicholas Kristof: