Deputy agriculture secretary during the Obama era, Kathleen Merrigan was one of Time magazine's "100 most influential people in the world" in 2010. Now, she is the first executive director of the Swette Center for Sustainable Food Systems at Arizona State University. She moved to Arizona State after working as executive director of sustainability at George Washington University.
With an eye to grooming leaders in U.S. food policy, a Washington-based university is launching a one-year program to prepare graduates to take a guiding hand in resolving climate change and food inequalities. Former deputy agriculture secretary Kathleen Merrigan says the Food Policy Leadership Institute will "supercharge" the work of the Food Institute that she leads at George Washington University.
If they want to prevent cuts in the food-stamp program in the 2018 farm bill, nutrition and consumer groups need to know the language of crop subsidies, says Kathleen Merrigan, former deputy agriculture secretary. "Start educating yourselves about some other parts of the farm bill," she said, lamenting, "we don't really talk about a lot of these things that the people who really want to go after [food stamps] care about."
José Andrés, co-owner of a dozen U.S. restaurants, urged foodies to stand up to painful food and immigration policies that he expects to see from the Trump administration. Speaking at the Food Tank Summit, Andrés told the overflow crowd "Food is politics," reported Quartz.
Members of the Obama administration who helped shape food policy assessed their accomplishments over the past eight years, as well as the road ahead under President-elect Trump, at a briefing in Washington. They stressed that the new administration should consider food and ag policies through the lens of rural voters, food businesses and consumers that are already voting in the marketplace for the food they want.
Donald Trump will not back a popular conservative proposal to split food stamps from the rest of the farm bill, said Sam Clovis, a senior advisor to the Republican presidential nominee. Speaking for Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton, former deputy agriculture secretary Kathleen Merrigan said food stamps are a key element of farm bills and Clinton would oppose cuts to the premiere U.S. anti-hunger program.
California Agriculture Secretary Karen Ross and former two-term Kentucky Gov. Steve Beshear are among three leading candidates for agriculture secretary if Hillary Clinton wins the presidency, says The Hagstrom Report. It was apparently the first time Beshear has been tabbed as a potential nominee; Ross has been mentioned repeatedly by ag lobbyists and in published reports as a contender.
The panel of experts helping the government revise the Dietary Guidelines for Americans "strays from strictly nutritional evidence" to dabble in "areas like sustainability and tax policy," charged House Agriculture chairman Michael Conaway. With two cabinet members slated to testify before his committee on Wednesday, Conaway wrote an essay detailing his criticism.
Kathleen Merrigan, who helped craft the organic food law in 1990 as a Senate staffer and implement it a decade later at USDA, "is an agricultural policy workhorse who calls the public policy arena her 'playground,'" says a profile story at Greenwire.
USDA's organic food label, the gold standard for shopper wanting food free of genetically modified organisms and chemical pesticides, "has come under increasing attack as a handful of consumer groups question the USDA’s handling of the National Organic Standards Board," says Roll Call.