Obama’s Longest-Serving Cabinet Member on the Fight to Save Our Democracy

Interview by Billy Shore

Wednesday, February 13, 2019

What is the backbone of our strength as a nation? In this episode from Washington DC, former Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack and The Salt Line chef Kyle Bailey sit down with host Billy Shore to discuss the economic vitality of our country. “We’re in a [global] competition for which system of government works best in a time of change. We always thought that once we won the Cold War… democracy was the best way to do it and everyone was going to see that,” says Vilsack. Bailey’s focus on sustainable seafood sourcing cooperatives aims to democratize food and support people whose livelihoods rely on fishing. “The idea was to cut a couple steps out of the supply chain to get the freshest and best fish, and it gets money back into the pockets of the actual fisherman,” says Bailey.

The guests discuss the impact of the current political disagreements around immigration, which affects the restaurant industry and many others. “Immigrant populations have historically done the jobs that are really hard. When we’re fearful, the whole American experience gets interrupted,” notes Vilsack. “Yeah, [democracy] is a little messy but eventually it gets the job done in a way doesn’t limit people’s freedoms and abilities.”

Get informed and inspired as these two guests share their thoughts about politics, sustainable food and agriculture.

Resources and Mentions:

Tom Vilsack

Tom Vilsack

Thomas J. Vilsack was confirmed as the 32nd United States Secretary of Agriculture on Feb. 23, 2021 by the U.S. Senate. He was nominated by President Joe Biden to return to a role where he served for eight years under President Barack Obama. As leader of the U.S. Department of Agriculture as the 30th Secretary of Agriculture between 2009-2017, Vilsack worked hard to strengthen the American agricultural economy, build vibrant rural communities and create new markets for innovation in rural America. He fought to put Americans back to work by investing in rural infrastructure, renewable energy and large-scale conservation partnerships. Under his leadership, USDA supported America's farmers, ranchers and growers who drove the rural economy forward, set records for U.S. agricultural exports, provided food assistance to millions of Americans, and helped provide a safe, sufficient and nutritious food supply for the American people. USDA introduced healthier food choices in school meals to benefit 50 million children during Vilsack’s tenure and expanded free and reduced-price lunches for millions of kids.

Kyle Bailey

Chef and partner of Long Shot Hospitality. A graduate of the Culinary Institute of America, Kyle Bailey has helmed kitchens from luxury resorts in the Caribbean to great restaurants in New York and DC, including Birch & Barley and Churchkey. He’s learned from great chefs, including Shea Gallante and Dan Barber, and mentored dozens of others, sharing his interest in and knowledge of sustainability in local food systems. Kyle was named “The People’s Best New Chef” Mid-Atlantic region in 2011 by Food & Wine.

The U.S. Dairy Export Council

(USDEC) is a non-profit, independent membership organization that represents the global trade interests of U.S. dairy producers, proprietary processors and cooperatives, ingredient suppliers and export traders. Dairy Management Inc. founded USDEC in 1995 and, through the dairy checkoff program, is the organization’s primary funder. USDA’s Foreign Agricultural Service provides export activity support, and membership dues fund the Council’s trade policy and lobbying activities. USDEC’s mission is to enhance demand for U.S. dairy products and ingredients by securing access and assisting suppliers to meet market needs that facilitate sales.

The Salt Line

Part of Long Shot Hospitality (LSH), a Washington DC-based restaurant group led by Kyle Bailey, Jeremy Carman, Gavin Coleman & Paul Holder. The partners and their other properties (Sixth Engine, Town Hall, The Dubliner) are known for great atmosphere, reliable service, excellent food and an enjoyable vibe—the kinds of places you meet up with friends again and again. The Salt Line, creates a lively and welcoming experience of classic New England dishes influenced by the bounty of the Chesapeake.

Dock to Dish

An international network of small-scale fishermen, marine biologists and sustainable seafood advocates working in teams from ports and harbors across North and Central America. They are collectively committed to making local, traceable, low-impact wild seafood accessible to organized groups of cooperative members through unique community and restaurant supported fishery programs. In June of 2017, The United Nations Foundation designated the Dock to Dish community and restaurant supported fishery model as one of the top breakthrough innovations that can scale to solve the ocean’s grand challenges.

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