ChewsWise Blog

ChewsWise Blog

Organic Heavyweights Back Vilsack

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.