Thursday, December 4, 2008

The Food Movement Moves

It makes me happy how the food movement is starting to get organized, with a list of six names for Obama's Secretary of Agriculture signed by lots of cool foodie people. The only one I know is Mark Ritchie, the MN Secretary of State to whom I donated money in 2006 for win-the-battleground-states-in-2008 reasons. Never knew he was an Ag guy, but actually he puts the F in DFL. Ag policy is what he's spent half his adult life doing:

From 1986 until 2006, he served as the president of the Minneapolis-based Institute for Agriculture and Trade Policy, a non-profit organization working with businesses, churches, farm organizations, and other civic groups to foster long-term sustainability for Minnesota’s rural communities. Among other issues, it looked into how global trade rules in fact impact family farmers and rural communities. Ritchie also founded the League of Rural Voters.

In 1994, Ritchie was a co-founder of the Global Environment & Trade Study, located at Yale University, which conducted research on the linkages and potential synergies between international trade and the environment. Also that year, Ritchie organized a conference to commemorate the 50th anniversary of the Bretton Woods conference. The 1994 conference, held at the Mt. Washington Hotel, featured a return of many of the "old timers" who had attended the 1944 conference or other founding conferences for the postwar economic system.

A dude who comes at agricultural policy from a family farmer / global trade perspective could be an excellent Secretary of Agriculture. I have no idea what his chances are of getting the position, though the fact that he's in the middle of a nasty recount where the Republicans have been making elaborate preparations to whine about a losing outcome probably doesn't help.
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