Stop the appointment of Vilsack as USDA Secretary


After a nightmarish four years of reckoning with blatant white supremacy, this country has an opportunity to do better - and President- and Vice President-elect Joe Biden and Kamala Harris have a responsibility to fulfill their promise to Build Back Better. Re-appointing Tom Vilsack as Secretary of Agriculture is a slap in the face to anyone who cares about racial justice.

Under Secretary Vilsack’s leadership, the United States Department of Agriculture:
  • Routinely denied loans to Black farmers that were easily obtained by white farmers and decreased the overall dollars loaned to Black farmers
  • Failed to take discrimination complaints seriously, and foreclosed on Black farmers who had pending discrimination complaints
  • Did not adequately compensate Black farmers with valid claims under the Pigford settlement
  • Wrongfully terminated a Black woman with an impeccable track record for advocating for farmers, Mrs. Shirley Sherrod (former Georgia State Director of Rural Development), based on false claims from unfounded far right wing propaganda. He later apologized and offered her another position (different from her previous position), which was clearly an admission of wrongdoing with no clear restitution.
  • Prioritized the profits of the poultry industry over the health and safety of working people and families  
Meanwhile, Secretary Vilsack’s Department of Agriculture colluded in the distortion of data regarding race, farming and land via USDA. According to a published report, Vilsack’s administration falsely claimed a 9% increase in Black farming, which reportedly turned out to be false. Making false claims to boost and overcompensate for his administration’s failed attempts to halt, curb and repair the harm on the part of USDA is a clear example of a lack of commitment to racial equity and justice within Vilsack’s administration.

With every new administration comes an opportunity to do better. There is no question that we must. Our food system in the U.S. is rooted in a painful history of stolen lands, stolen labor, and genocide, made profitable to a select few through extraction and exploitation.

We urge the President- and Vice President-Elect to seize this moment and truly move towards the racial healing this country so badly needs. We urge them to reject Tom Vilsack for USDA Secretary, and appoint visionary leaders with intersectional lenses rooted in an understanding of and a demonstrated commitment racial justice.

Dara Cooper|National Black Food and Justice Alliance
Navina Khanna|HEAL Food Alliance
Vincent Burchett|
Evan Weber | Sunrise Movement
Miranda Litwak | Revolving Door Project
Mary Hooks |Southerners On New Ground
Shawn Sebastian | People's Action
Alan Minsky |  Progressive Democrats of America
Lisa Griffith | National Family Farm Coalition
Udit Thakur | Open Markets Institute
Zen Honeycutt | Moms Across America
Cody Atkinson | Family Farm Action
John Peck | Family Farm Defenders
Amanda Starbuck | Food & Water Watch
Stephanie McFadden| South Carolina Black Farmers Coalition
Vasudha Desikan | Action Center on Race & the Economy
Diana Ruiz | Greenpeace USA
Alexis Baden-Mayer| Organic Consumers Association
Kari Hamerschlag & Dana Perls | Friends of the Earth
Anne Frederick | Hawai`i Alliance for Progressive Action
Brett Hartl | Center for Biological Diversity
Dara Baldwin | Center for Disability Rights
Jaydee Hanson & Rebecca Spector| Center for Food Safety
Mia MacDonald | Brighter Green
Sha’Von Terrell | Black Church Food Security Network
Noël Hutton & Heather Day | Community Alliance for Global Justice
Jeanette Abi-Nader| Cultivate Charlottesville
Daniel Ross| DAISA Enterprises, LLC.
Makani Themba | Higher Ground Change Strategies
Cristina Dominguez & Krysten Aguilar | La Semilla Food Center
Anna Canning | Fair World Project
Leah Penniman | Soul Fire Farm
Bairet Eiter & Elizabeth Makarewicz | Land Stewardship Project
Erin Eberle | Farm Forward
Kathryn Gilje &Michelle Puckett | First Congregational Church of Oakland 
Dr. Beth Katz & Linden Thayer| Food Insight Group
Ocean Robbins | Food Revolution Network
Mackenzie Feldman | Herbicide-Free Campus
Doria D Robinson | Urban Tilth
Gillian Comstock | Metta Earth Farm, LLC
Laurie Priddy | PWN-Colorado
Anna Lappé | Real Food Media
Tami Haught | Sero Project
Hugh Joseph |  ISED Solutions
Sibella Kraus | Sustainable Agriculture Education (SAGE)
Philip L Bereano | Washington Biotechnology Action Council
Andy Fisher | Ecological Farming Association
Hannah Kinder|Factory Farming Awareness Coalition 
Mary Gutierrez | Earth Action, Inc.
Alec Hickmott | Amherst College
Alex Jensen | Local Futures
Alison Cohen | WhyHunger
Amma Wright | Maroon Way Farm
Anna Springer | Oregon Farmers Markets Association
Aton Bridges | Maroon Way Farm
Ayisha Christina Stucker-Gassi|Northwest Center for Alternatives to Pesticides
Brandy Raines | DSA
Chelsea Howard | North Mississippi Leftist Coalition
Daniel Aldana Cohen | University of Pennsylvania
Edward Machtinger | University of California, San Francisco
Gordon Nelson Merrick | Vermont Law School
Haven King-Nobles | Fish Welfare Initiative
Jana Ragsdale | Cook First Portland
Jeannie Economos | Farmworker Association of Florida
Kathleen Hallal | Non Toxic Communities
Kelly Ryerson | Glyphosate Girl
Linden Thayer | Food Insight Group
Marcus Hill | Forsyth Foodworks
Margaret Reeves | Pesticide Action Network
Marilyn Chiarello | Edible Brattleboro
Matt Sanderson | LA Food Policy Council
Melissa Garriga | Mississippi Poor People's Campaign
Melissa Taylor | NewHour_li
Michael E Roberts | Navy Veteran
Miguel Robles | Soil Not Oil Coalition
Nancy LaPlaca | LaPlaca and Associates LLC
Neil Thapar | Minnow
Nikki Guerrero | Hot Mama Salsa
Sarah Nahar | Syracuse University and SUNY
Stephanie Smith | Click, Inc.
Tina McKim | Birchwood Food Desert Fighters
Tristan Quinn-Thibodeau | ActionAid USA
Vivian Kirkland | Land owner
Drew Hudson | 198 methods
Spencer Roberts | 2020 State DNC Delegate
Abigail Mnookin | 350VT
Caity Peterson | Public Policy Institute of California
William Minter | AfricaFocus Bulletin
Michael Carter Jr | Africulture
Garrett Graddy-Lovelace | Agroecology Research-Action Collective
Dawn Weleski | Conflict Kitchen / SUNY Morrisville
Liz Carlisle | UC Santa Barbara
Christopher Cook | Author and Journalist
Johnnie Jackson | BAE
Jackie Splain | BARC, Cooperative Gardens Commission
Rachel Smolker | Biofuelwatch
Anika Tilland-Stafford & Tina McKim | Birchwood Food Desert Fighters Christian Perry | blackyard
Susie Cambria | blue nose creative
Peter Burmeister | Burelli Farm
Margarita Fernandez | Caribbean Agroecology Institute
John Soluri | Carnegie Mellon University
Mekhael, Yahir, Shmael Carter | Carter Brothers
Michael Carter Jr | Carter Farms LLC
Peter Rosset, Ph.D. | Center for the Study of the Americas
Stefanie Hauck | Chatham University
Eric George | Coast Range Seed
jim weiner | Collaborative Project Consulting
Pam Kennedy | Community Seed Exchange at the Barton Public Library
Lillie Rosen | DC Greens
Shari Sirkin | Dancing Roots Farm
Ebony Roberts | DBCFSN
Ari Halbkram | Democratic voter
Rev. Majadi Baruti | Dynamite Hill-Smithfield Community Land Trust
Mary Gutierrez | Earth Action, Inc.
Rena Meyers-Dahlkamp | Earth Guardians Bay Area Crew
Ruth Story | EEECHO
Aryenish Birdie | Encompass
Tara Thornton | Endangered Species Coalition
Tosha Phonix | EVOLVE Nate Kleinman | Experimental Farm Network Peggy Briggs | Farm and Field notes
Janabai Owens | Farm Transformation Institute
Brett Warnock | Food magazine publisher, Kitchen Table
Marcus Hill | Forsyth Foodworks
Germaine H Jenkins | Fresh Future Farm Inc.
Heather Rudich | Friendly Grove Blueberry Farm
Shari Sirkin | Friends of Family Farmers
Dori Eder | Gemini Valley Farm
Luan Van Le | GMO/Toxin Free USA
Katelyn Mostad | Gonzo Farms
Nina Morgan | Greater Birmingham Alliance to Stop Pollution
Demet Haksever & Mary Coleman-Kennedy | Greater Haverhill Indivisible
Lauren Howe | Hamilton College Alum
Duron Chavis | Happily Natural Day
Vanessa Jackson | Healing Circles, Inc.
Gwenyth Jones | Hilltop Hanover Farm & Enviromental Center
Jennifer Albertine | Holyoke Food and Equity Collective
Michelle Strongfields | IAMM Science Education Group
Bhavani Jaroff | iEat green
Derrick Johnson | Johnson Farms
Anthony Giancatarino | Just Community Energy Transition Project
Sister Eli, MSW | King Bishop’s Entertainment LLC
Pamm Larty |
Nancy LaPlaca | LaPlaca and Associates LLC
Caitlin Adair | Living Earth Action Group
Daphne Muse | Marsh Creek Dems
Mark Haim | Mid-Missouri Peaceworks
Molly Anderson | Middlebury College
Emily Landenberger| Middlebury Natural Foods Co-op
Tony Del Plato | Moosewood Restaurant 
Shantae Johnson | Mudbone Grown
Karyn Moskowitz | New Roots, Inc.
Henry Wilkinson | NOLS
Kwabena "Cubby" Nkromo | North America Food & Farm PBC Inc
Timothy Judson | Nuclear Information and Resource Service
Cooper Freeman | Occidental Arts & Ecology Center
Collin Rees |Oil Change U.S.
Kimberly Hagen | Osprey Hill Farm
Vivian Stockman | OVEC-Ohio Valley Environmental Coalition
Michael McGurk |
Allison Glick | Phipps Conservatory
Erin Rupp | Pollinate Minnesota
Dimka Braswell | R and B Farms
Jamil Burns | Raised Roots
Andrew Green | Regeneration Farm LLC
David Swanson |
Julia Van Loon | Slate Foods, Inc.
Michelle Chang | Stanford University
Jeremiah Sorto | Stony Brook University Medicine
Laura-Anne Minkoff-Zern | Syracuse University
Nicodemus Ford | Take care institute for equity and justice
Tafadzwa Gwitira | Tele Farm
Rebecca and Larry Landis | Territorial Road Orchard
Breon Wells | The Daniel Initiative
Christa Nunez | The Learning Farm
frederic mousseau | The Oakland Institute
Zion Davidson | The Refuge
Tagan Engel | The Table Underground
Rosie Long | Tuskegee University
Bill Bredderman | Twin Ponds Farm
Aidee Guzman | UC Berkeley
Jennifer Sowerwine | UC Berkeley
Coleman Rainey | UC Berkeley, Gill Tract Farm Coalition
Vivian Wauters | UC Davis
Damian Parr|UCSC Center for Agroecology & Sustainable Food Systems
Jose Martínez-Reyes | UMass Boston
Rev.Dr. Lizabeth Klein | United Methodist Church
Jessica Lowery Gilbert | University at Buffalo
Esteli Jimenez Soto | University of California Santa Cruz
Maywa Montenegro | University of California Santa Cruz
Kathryn De Master | University of California, Berkeley
Carly E Nichols | University of Iowa
Catherine Badgley | University of Michigan
Lilly Fink Shapiro | U of Michigan Sustainable Food Systems Initiative Caroline Stephens | University of Montana, Environmental Studies
Daniel Aldana Cohen | University of Pennsylvania
Divana Olivas | University of Southern California
Raj Patel | University of Texas
Jack Kloppenburg | University of Wisconsin-Madison
Lilias Pettit-Scott | Urban Agriculture Coalition of Louisville
Melanie Heckt | Aspiring Black Farmer
Elizabeth Champagne&Grace Gershuny|Vermont Healthy Soil Coalition
Nicole Lampe | Water Hub
justin and Rebecca | Wild Soul River
Debbie Hillman |
Michelle Perro, MD |
Melanie Carpenter | Zack Woods Herb Farm NOFA VT

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