Hello Washington, Meet A Small Farmer

The U.S. Senate holds confirmation hearings to determine how qualified a man or woman is to hold an important government position. Occasionally, these hearings confirm that some of those already in Washington shouldn’t be passing judgment on others. So it was with comments made by Senator Pat Roberts (R-Kansas) during the confab over former Iowa governor Tom Vilsack. As the blog Ethicurean reports it, the esteemed senator’s remarks were singularly uninformed.

via The Ethicurean: Chew the right thing. » Blog Archive » Show Senator Pat Roberts that small farmers aren’t little GQ-reading dilettantes.

This is just another example of how unfortunately twisted the image of agriculture is. I imagine that the lobbyists that Senator Roberts listens to have very gladly helped this misconception flourish. IF you are interested in meeting some of your local Sussex County small family farmers check out the Sussex County Board of Agriculture discussion forum and say HI.

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100,000 Americans for a sustainable USDA

food_dem_nowFood Democracy Now!, an advocacy group that includes farmers, writers, chefs, and lovers of good, sustainable food, is trying to raise support for that very thing in the new administration. The group has collected more than 85,000 signatures on a petition to change the factory food ways of the United States Department of Agriculture, but needs 15,000 more to make its goal. What is that goal? To get advocates for sustainability in the USDA as undersecretaries to its new head, Tom Vilsack, and to change the way America produces its food. Here’s part of its mission, in its own words:

We seek to transform today’s system by advancing best practices in food production, animal husbandry, conservation of natural resources, renewable energy and soil preservation. Through these efforts we hope to stimulate local food systems, promote rural economic development, encourage a new generation of farmers and respond to the growing public demand for wholesome, fairly-produced food. We will also support candidates who advance this vision and who embrace common sense policies that respect our nation’s air, water, soil, livestock, food workers, consumers and family farmers.

The group’s declaration has been signed by Michael Pollan, Marion Nestle, Alice Waters, Dan Barber and Rick Bayless, among others. To learn about its picks for undersecretaries–a group Food Democracy calls “The Sustainable Dozen”–and to add your name to the petition, click here. And tell a friend.