| I was just finishing up a post about the USDA's new organic garden when I got an email (subject: Second Green Revolution, anyone?). Yikes! So I went to have a look. We've got a new nominee to the USDA. I guess after they nominated Kathleen Merrigan to the Deputy post and Doug O'Brien as her Chief of Staff, they felt that their "sustainable ag" quota among USDA leadership was filled? Perhaps the decided to balance it out by looking for the biggest douchebag they could find?
The nominee is Rajiv Shah as Under Secretary of Research, Education and Economics and Chief Scientist at USDA. And who's Rajiv Shah? He's the Director of the Agricultural Development Program at the Gates Foundation. In other words, he's the guy heading up all of the bad shit going on around the world.
And... here's what Vilsack thinks about him:
Dr. Rajiv Shah is a globally recognized leader in science, health and economics ... disciplines that are critical to the missions of this department," said Vilsack. As Director of the Agricultural Development Program at The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, Rajiv has a profound influence on helping the world's poor lead healthy and productive lives. With his extensive background, Rajiv will help guide advances in food safety, nutrition, energy and climate, agricultural productivity, and global food security-to name a few of USDA's challenges.
I don't know much about Shah as a person, but I am incredibly frustrated by the destructive and paternalistic approach the Gates Foundation has taken to "help" the developing world feed itself. They are pushing to continue and expand all of the worst of Western agriculture into the developing world, to essentially privatize the means of food production. And they are doing this despite the harmful results the same approach has already had in other parts of the world. So now they'll have their man on the inside. Terrific.
UPDATE: Here is what the NY Times had to say about Shah.