Thursday, February 26, 2009

Snow, Seeds, and Surprises from the USDA

Last night three inches of snow fell. It should be mostly gone by evening when more snow may fall. Last week the temperatures bounced between the 40s and the 60s. Some ornamental cherry trees are blooming in the neighborhood. Heavy rains are normal. Snow is not. We are in a maritime climate.

We are planting the transplants in the greenhouse that will be planted later in the tunnel houses.

We are ordering seed. There seems to have been some seed crop failures, and that wedded with higher demand means that there are going to be organic seed shortages this year.

Finally, The Rodale Institute web newsletter came with this analysis mixed with hope about the new USDA: Like Nixon to China, Vilsack reshaping USDA landscape. Rodale reports that:
We’re on the cusp of a similarly noteworthy shift in the posture of the USDA under its new secretary, Tom Vilsack of Iowa. Initially dismissed by many progressive food and farming activists as a tool of corporate agribusiness, the new leader is making waves several times a day in what is starting to feel like a tsunami of positive change.

What surprised me the most is Sec. Vilsack announcing that Kathleen Merrigan, the person who drafted Organic Foods Production Act of 1990, will be his deputy secretary. That makes her the second most powerful person in the USDA behind Sec. Vilsack himself. There is more. Sec. Vilsack has spent the month of February presenting surprises. I encourage you to click through to the Rodale Institute newsletter and read this for yourself.

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