Press Release

December, 17, 2008

Food Democracy Now! Congratulates Next Secretary of Agriculture — Vows to Continue to Advocate Sustainable Change at USDA — 56,000 Americans Sign Letter

As signatories to the Food Democracy Now! letter we would like to congratulate former Iowa Gov. Tom Vilsack for being named as our next Secretary of Agriculture. While this selection does not represent the interests as laid out in our letter calling for a candidate with significant grassroots experience advocating for sustainable agricultural, healthy food and environmental interests, we appreciate this decision as we know that as Iowa Governor, Mr. Vilsack was always willing to listen to the concerns of family farm and rural advocates from across Iowa. We hope that he will pay equal attention to the over 56,000 citizens who have signed this letter in less than two weeks.

We welcome the opportunity to work with Mr. Vilsack in his new position as he transforms American food and farming in accordance with current data of how food production impacts public health, the environment and climate change, animal welfare and especially America’s children.

Having spoken out for change, we are hopeful, based on the policy ideas laid out in the Obama-Biden Rural Agenda, that our new Administration will indeed place a cap on subsidy payments, “strictly regulate pollution from large factory livestock farms,” encourage organic, socially responsible, and local agriculture, bring new farmers onto the land and implement GMO labeling.

Earlier this month, in the span of less than two weeks, over 55,000 Americans from all 50 states signed the Food Democracy Now! letter. This letter originated in Iowa and spread across the nation; twenty of the original 90 signers call Iowa home and 20 of the original signers are also farmers or are engaged in the day-to-day business of food production.

The outpouring of grassroots support in such a short time confirms that those who voted for Barack Obama as a result the family-farm friendly policies outlined in his Rural Agenda look to him to implement significant reform in U.S. policies as they relate to food and farm policy and wish to remain active in their renewed call for change.

Many among these 56,000+ Americans are representative of the over 50 million American consumers who help make the $20 billion a year organic food segment one of the fastest growing sectors in agriculture. Even more importantly these 56,000+ signers represent a growing segment of society that share real and significant concerns regarding the accumulating evidence that U.S. food and agriculture policies create a significant impact on the larger world around us.

Again, we congratulate Mr. Vilsack on his nomination to be our next Secretary of Agriculture and look forward to working with him on these important concerns.

Press Contact: David Murphy