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All hail Kathleen Merrigan, Deputy Secretary of Agriculture

Good news for all of us organic and sustainable food believers out there. This week President Obama tapped organic advocate Kathleen Merrigan for the number two ag position. If like me you participated in grassroots efforts to get forward-thinking food officials appointed and were dismayed by the Vilsack pick, then you should be doubly pleased. Here's the jubilant reaction from our friends over at the Organic Center.

[Merrigan's] thorough knowledge of the science behind the organic benefit as well as her involvement at such a high level at USDA is sure to bode well for organic agriculture and sustainable food systems. And it couldn't come at a better time. ... She is sure to help build awareness of and interest in organic food and farming on a national level.

And from sustainable foods expert and author Samuel Fromartz. This amounts to a major win for organic, sustainable and local food advocates, since Merrigan is not only well-versed in these issues but has been a tireless advocate for them. Most notably, she wrote the Organic Food Production Act -- the law that governs the entire organic food sector -- as a staffer for Vermont Sen. Leahy back in the 1980s, then worked at USDA and the Wallace Center, before moving to Tufts. (Read more here.)

More buzz on Kathleen Merrigan from Ethicurean, Grist, and the Washington Post.

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