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orangeclouds115 has an important Diary making its way up the Daily Kos Recommended List. It details the kind of "bottom-up politics," what we once called "participatory democracy," that many of us eager for change have been heartened to see blossoming in 21st Century America. Not just we can believe in but change that we can count on.

You can read the delicious details in the Diary, but the short version is that activist Dave Murphy has put together a petition regarding the next Secretary of Agriculture - which is as environmental a post as the chiefdoms of Energy, Transportation, and the EPA.
His petition has not only collected all the big names in sustainable agriculture - as opposed to the version that plagues so much of our country now - but managed to get attention in traditional megamedia places like The New York Times.

Here's a comment from one of the best-known petition signers, Marion Nestle, author of Food Politics: How the Food Industry Influences Nutrition and Health.

I signed on because it’s time for a change at USDA, an agency that has long been linked all too strongly to industrial agriculture at the expense of more sustainable approaches.  The country badly needs more consumer-friendly approaches to areas under the purview of USDA: food assistance, food security, organic standards, meat and poultry safety, sustainable production.  Someone should be heading the agency who is interest[ed] in pursuing more just and sustainable goals.

It's also apparently caught the eye of Barack Obama's transition team. How this grassroots/netroots effort will pan out is anybody's guess. But another 50,000 names couldn't hurt. I urge you to read and sign. Update [2008-12-16 22:25:53 by Meteor Blades]:: Caught the team's eye but clearly only got a glance. All that can be hoped for now is that one or more of those six individuals whose bios appear below will be considered for undersecretaries.

Here is Dave Murphy's petition. And here are brief biographies of the six people he has suggested for Secretary of Agriculture.

Gus Schumacher, Former Under Secretary of Agriculture for Farm and Foreign Agricultural Services at the U.S. Department of Agriculture, Former Massachusetts Commissioner of Agriculture.

Chuck Hassebrook, Executive Director, Center for Rural Affairs, Lyons, NE.

Sarah Vogel, former two-term Commissioner of Agriculture for the State of North Dakota, attorney, Bismarck, ND.
Fred Kirschenmann, organic farmer, Distinguished Fellow, Leopold Center for Sustainable Agriculture, Ames, IA and President, Stone Barns Center for Food and Agriculture, Pocantico Hills, NY.

Mark Ritchie, current Minnesota Secretary of State, former policy analyst in Minnesota’s Department of Agriculture under Governor Rudy Perpich, co-founder of the Institute for Agriculture and Trade Policy.

Neil Hamilton, attorney, Dwight D. Opperman Chair of Law and Professor of Law and Director, Agricultural Law Center, Drake University, Des Moines, IA.

Every one of them a competent, pragmatic, focused person who believes in the necessity of real change.

Originally posted to Daily Kos on Tue Dec 16, 2008 at 06:45 PM PST.

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