Tuesday, February 24, 2009

In the Kitchen with Kathleen Merrigan

President Obama is expected to appoint Kathleen Merrigan as Deputy Secretary of USDA this week. From what I can tell this woman understands locally grown, sustainable agriculture and supports truth in food labeling, organic ag and other locavore and healthy food related issues. Plus, she has kids and is on record that she cares about what they put in their mouths!

Her appointment is great news. I can't help but wonder if the White House's newest "LightHearted" food loving locavore, Michelle Obama, didn't have a hand in Merrigan's appointment. Just last week, Mrs. Obama let the media in the White House kitchen for a tour and where she said: 
“When you grow something yourself and it’s close and it’s local, oftentimes it tastes really good. And when you’re dealing with kids, for example, you want to get them to try that carrot. Well, if it tastes like a real carrot and it’s really sweet, they’re going to think that it’s a piece of candy. So my kids are more inclined to try different vegetables if they’re fresh and local and delicious.” VIDEO OF MRS. OBAMAS KITCHEN TOUR
Merrigan's resume includes academics (Tufts), government and USDA and work on the Organic Foods Production Act of 1990. She was senior science and technology adviser to Senate Ag Committee Chairman Patrick Leahy on issues from biotechnology, organic and sustainable agriculture and pesticides to agricultural appropriations. APPROPRIATIONS means money for small farmers and good food for locavores. 

It gets better...in an op-ed piece that she wrote for the Boston Globe, January 4, 2004 she wrote:
"As a mom, I can tell you that the customer isn't always right - my kids would eat candy 24/7 if I let them. So, in my last job, as a senior official at the US Department of Agriculture, I was dumbfounded when representatives of the pear industry unveiled a new product designed for the National School Lunch Program --individual plastic containers of processed pears in cotton-candy flavored syrup."
I LOVE THIS WOMAN! She's great for Mom's, Eaters and Honest Farmers and Food Processors. She got the candy off the fruit (and, hopefully,  she'll get the salmonella off of the spinach). There's new hope for the words "organic" "grass-fed" "anti-biotic free", "sustainability". And, my personal favorite "LOCAVORE"!!! 

Stay tuned. 

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