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by Slow Food USA staffer Gordon Jenkins

The Des Moines Register reports that USDA Secretary Tom Vilsack’s current chief of staff has moved on to a position with the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission and is being replaced by Karen Ross, former president of the California Winegrape Growers Association and one of the “Sustainable Dozen” proposed in 2008 by Food Democracy Now for the position of USDA Secretary.

On the blog La Vida Locavore, Jill Richardson quotes Michael Dimock (president of the organization Roots of Change), who has praised Ms. Ross as an advocate for sustainable agriculture and believes she will give California’s fruit and vegetable growers a stronger voice in the USDA.

She joins Deputy Secretary Kathleen Merrigan, another important local food advocate in a top leadership role at the USDA. Their presence in D.C. represents a much-needed policy shift towards supporting local food and addressing the needs of actual farmers.

[late addition: Obamafoodorama tweets that on a conference call today Vilsack declined to confirm this news…stay tuned!]


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