In an interesting move, a number of heavyweights in the organic food and farming world have launched a website supporting the nomination of Tom Vilsack as secretary of agriculture.
The people behind this effort include Denise O'Brien, the organic farmer who ran for secretary of agriculture of Iowa; Walter Robb, co-president of Whole Foods; Gary Hirshberg, founder and CEO of Stonyfield Farms; Bob Scowcroft, executive director of the Organic Farming Research Foundation; Wayne Pacelle, CEO of the Humane Society of the United States; and many others.
I'm curious that this coalition felt compelled to take this step -- presumably to counter the criticism of groups like the Organic Consumers Association and possibly to leave open the door to Vilsack's office, once he is confirmed. As Scowcroft says on the site:
In recent weeks I have spoken to many of my colleagues in Iowa and toothers in the sustainable and organic agriculture communities
nationwide. They spoke of a governor who listened seriously to their
concerns and when politically possible provided workable solutions.
Mind you I have no illusions concerning how “Washington works” and the
challenges facing a USDA (never mind the nation and the world!) mired
in systems that are unsustainable and in many cases broken beyond
repair. The agro-industrial status quo will not easily give up its hold
on power. Nevertheless many of us are working hard to advance highly
qualified candidates for the Deputy Secretary and the under secretary
positions. Governor Vilsack and the Obama Transition committee have
taken our nominations seriously, and I believe they are working to
bring a number of these candidates into the new USDA leadership.