If you closely follow organic and sustainable agriculture, you may know who Kathleen Merrigan is. For those who don’t, Kathleen Merrigan was until recently the No. 2 official at the U.S. Department of Agriculture and a powerful voice for local and organic foods. While there is some legitimate concern coming from the sustainable agriculture world in losing such a friendly voice, we think it’s important to recognize what Kathleen stood for.
A champion for local, organic and sustanable
Best known is her having brought all the USDA’s divergent work on local and sustainable agriculture together with Know Your Farmer, Know Your Food. She was a champion of Organic standards and worked tirelessly to improve the quality of foods in the school system. She helped champion the grant program that provides locally produced foods for school meals and created government programs to build hoop houses to extend the growing season for vegetable farmers.
In a time when “big ag” continues to push themselves as the only solution to feeding the world, Kathleen worked to proved a bit more support for those that know local and sustainable can go a big way in fixing problems in the US and world food supply.
We would encourage those who care to send a letter to the Secretary of the USDA to encourage him to continue to support the causes that Kathleen Merrigan worked for.
Secretary Tom Vilsack
U.S. Department of Agriculture
1400 Independence Ave., S.W.
Washington, DC 20250
Kathleen said she hopes in the future to focus on the changing demographics of agriculture, including beginning farmers and land-owning widows and we hope to see more of her making a difference.