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Gus Schumacher

Biographical Note

High-level government employees are rarely known for sharing information with outsiders. It can be particularly difficult to get answers to questions about agricultural economics or the American food system. Yet Gus Schumacher—the only farmer in the Harvard class of 1961—has always considered educating the public (and the U.S. Congress) an essential and enjoyable part of his role.

As Commissioner of Agriculture of Massachusetts, Administrator of the Foreign Agriculture Service, and then Undersecretary of the Farm and Foreign Agriculture Service at the USDA in the Clinton administration, Schumacher consistently found ways to spread the word. He educated reporters; regularly spoke on the farm radio network; facilitated conversations between journalists, political officials, farmers, and agricultural economists; and was always available to explain a new law or regulation or Farm Bill.

Since he left government in 2007, Schumacher has continued that pattern as a consultant. Assisting and enabling new farmers—immigrants, women, young people—is one of his passions. Currently Schumacher is also the president of Wholesome Wave, a Connecticut-based charitable foundation that has been particularly active in finding ways to help the needy purchase nutritionally-rich produce at farmers markets at discount rates.

All of these subjects are discussed in these interviews.

Access Points

Batterberry, Michael
Benepe, Barry
Child, Julia
Clinton, Bill, 1946-
Dukakis, Michael S. (Michael Stanley), 1933-
Espy, Mike, 1953-
Hamersley, Gordon
Lewis, Bob
McNamara, Robert S., 1916-2009
McPhee, John, 1931-
Newman, Paul, 1925-2008
Nischan, Michel
Schumacher, Gus
Waterston, Albert
Winthrop, Freddie

Commodity Credit Corporation
Food Network (Firm)
HeartBeat Restaurant
Kellogg Foundation
Massachusetts. Commission on Agriculture
Monsanto Agricultural Company
New American Farmer Initiative
People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals
United States. Dept. of Agriculture
United States. Food and Nutrition Service
Wholesome Wave Foundation
World Bank

Agricultural processing industries
Agriculture and state
Animal rights
Community-supported agriculture
Farm produce
Farmers' markets -- Massachusetts
Farmers' markets -- New York (State) -- New York
Food habits -- United States
Food industry and trade
Food stamps
Local foods
Produce trade
Refugees -- United States
Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children (U.S.)
Union Square (New York, N.Y.)

Interview 1, June 4, 2010

Box: Electronic Records, E-records: MSS_309.ref89.1 (Material Type: electronic records)

Scope and Content

Running time: 1 hour, 34 minutes

Interview 2, October 6, 2010

Box: Electronic Records, E-records: MSS_309.ref91.1 (Material Type: electronic records)

Scope and Content

Running time: 1 hour, 16 minutes

Fales Library and Special Collections
Elmer Holmes Bobst Library
70 Washington Square South
2nd Floor
New York, NY 10012