The National Organic Program: Behind the Scenes with Dr. Kathleen Merrigan

Wed, 1 April, 2015 7:00pm
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Please join First Chapter and GW’s own Dr. Kathleen Merrigan for a behind-the-scenes look at the U.S. National Organic Program. Merrigan played an instrumental role in the creation and passage of the Organic Foods Production Act and other initiatives assisting organic food production efforts. Drawing on her perspective as a woman in the USDA and in policy efforts more generally, she will speak about the politics of the organic movement, the role of the environmental movement in this process, and current challenges and opportunities. Throughout, Merrigan--who once said, "The tool I couldn't live without would be the pen"--will highlight the role of persuasion, advocacy, and language itself in the good food movement and in public policy and social change more broadly. 

Kathleen Merrigan served as the U.S. Department of Agriculture Deputy Secretary and Chief Operating Officer from 2009-13, where she created and led the Know Your Farmer, Know Your Food Initiative. The National Journal calls her "the most prominent [U.S. Dept. of] Agriculture Deputy Secretary in memory." Currently serving as Director of GW's Sustainability Institute, she leads the GW Sustainability Collaborative, GW Food Institute, and serves as Professor of Public Policy. She also serves an advisory role for a number of foundations and initiatives involving food, health, and agriculture. Her many honors include a James Beard Leadership Award Fellowship, and in 2010 Time Magazine named her (along with First Chapter author of the year Will Allen) one of the “world’s most influential people.”

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