Vilsack? Vilsuck.

Via Waylon Lewis
on Dec 18, 2008
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Thanks to…

Sorry, Michael Pollan and Alice Waters, the US Secretary of Agriculture position is likely going to the former governor of Iowa who has ties to GMOs and the bio-tech industry. So much for that garden on the White House lawn.

I found the below via a nice new blog discovery, Ethicurean. Bookmark ’em if you like what you read.


The New York Times’ Caucus blog is reporting that President-Elect Obama has settled on former Iowa governor Tom Vilsack as his Secretary of Agriculture.

While just a few weeks ago I wrote that Vilsack didn’t seem like the most horrible choice for AgSec, compared to some of the other names being floated (Hello, Dennis Wolfe and Collin Petersen!), that was before a Don Quixote of an Iowa activist named Dave Murphy launched a petition to plead with Obama’s transition team to consider six potential reformers for the position instead. Signed by some of the biggest names in the sustainable food world — Wendell Berry, Bill Niman, Michael Pollan, Eric Schlosser, Alice Waters, etc. — the FoodDemocracyNow.orgpetition today passed 54,000 signatures, thanks to publicity from the New York Times, Daily Kos, BoingBoing, and others.

Well, tough cookies. That’s not how politics works, apparently. (Right about now our favorite guest poster Steph Larsen is saying “I told you so.” But nicely.)

Read my previous post for more about Vilsack, which drew heavily on this in-depth look from The Center for Rural Affairs about Vilsack’s stances on subsidies, meat producer consolidation, and genetically modified foods. Our main concern about him is that he did nothing to stop the proliferation of or regulate CAFOs in Iowa as governor, and his pro-GMO background and ties to the biotech industry. The Organic Consumers Association has a list of his biotech shenanigans.

Well, we dared…for the rest, cliick here. Great blog.

And here’s the word via, one of my favorite greensites:

Tom Vilsack is going to be secretary of agriculture, hmmm … Let’s see, ethanol proponent, enthusiastic supporter of GMOs and biotechnologies, and political debtor to agribusiness. Yup, it seems clear that Obama really took Michael Pollan’s “Farmer in Chief” piece to heart. Short of actually appointing, say, Monsanto’s chairman, it is hard to imagine a choice less likely to make real shifts in our food system.

But of course, as Rod Dreher and Carolyn Baker point out, so far there’s very little from the Obama administration that should make us feel secure that he will shift the status quo. Ultimately, Hillary, Geithner and the rest of the crew mostly can be described as people who did things not as badly as George W. Bush and his Cabinet, but that’s hardly saying anything of note.

For the rest of the above, go to Grist here.


About Waylon Lewis

Waylon Lewis, founder of elephant magazine, now & host of Walk the Talk Show with Waylon Lewis, is a 1st generation American Buddhist “Dharma Brat." Voted #1 in U.S. on twitter for #green two years running, Changemaker & Eco Ambassador by Treehugger, Green Hero by Discovery’s Planet Green, Best (!) Shameless Self-Promoter at Westword's Web Awards, Prominent Buddhist by Shambhala Sun, & 100 Most Influential People in Health & Fitness 2011 by "Greatist", Waylon is a mediocre climber, lazy yogi, 365-day bicycle commuter & best friend to Redford (his rescue hound). His aim: to bring the good news re: "the mindful life" beyond the choir & to all those who didn't know they gave a care. | His first book, Things I would like to do with You, is now available.


2 Responses to “Vilsack? Vilsuck.”

  1. […] Vilsak, in charge of our food and farms! Guess Obama wasn’t such a close reader of Michael Pollan’s Farmer-in-Chief article, […]

  2. […] former Iowa Governor Tom Vilsack to be our country’s new Secretary of Agriculture, crucial Under Secretary positions are still […]