Food, Farming, and the Green New Deal

    July 3, 2019

Written by Joey Lee, Center for Food Safety

The food and farming sector is the United States’ largest overall employer, and a top contributor to climate change. At the same time, those in the food and farming space have enormous potential to assuage the impacts of climate change and play a role in reversing it. For the Green New Deal to be truly effective, the food chain workers who drive our agricultural system and make our meals possible must be at the negotiating table.

The agriculture industry is harmed by the impacts of weather-related disruptions and disasters as the effects of climate change come to pass. Just look at how California’s unprecedented droughts led to an almond shortage in 2015, even as the almond industry used more water that year than the entire cities of Los Angeles and San Francisco combined. Or how there’s been a 240% increase in dust storms in the Central Valley, leading to a huge increase in farm workers contracting Valley fever fungus. This cost those ill workers 20 work days each on average, and California taxpayers a total of $2.2 billion in Valley-fever related hospital expenses.

The science is conclusive that when it comes to climate change, we have no time to lose. Making fundamental changes to our food and farming system is central to stabilizing our climate and ensuring food security for future generations.

Fortunately, there are solutions—well-demonstrated, effective, and profitable agricultural practices at all scales and in all regions of the country—that can help reduce pollution and repair the environment while revitalizing communities.

Embracing the future of agriculture would mean shifting away from monoculture practices and investing in methods used by small and medium-sized, diversified farms. We must cut back on chemical pesticides and fertilizers currently being used. We can utilize soil to capture carbon from the atmosphere, effectively reversing global warming and making soil healthier at the same time. We must integrate regenerative farming practices such as cover cropping, composting, and reducing tillage to improve soil quality and sequester carbon.

Over 100,000 Americans have signed the petition to show support of a Green New Deal that adheres to the following principles:

4 Key Policy Priorities and Principles

  • Carbon reduction, sequestration, and climate resilience;
  • Fair prices for farmers, ranchers and fishers, anti-trust measures that help reverse food sector consolidation, and healthy working conditions with family-sustaining living wages for workers;
  • Diversified, resilient, local and regional food economies anchored by family farmers, ranchers, and fishers that ensure healthy, sustainable food for all to combat consolidation in the food and farming sector and reverse the rapid loss of farmers and deterioration of farmland;
  • Avoid “false solutions” and agribusiness-sponsored proposals that do nothing to address the systemic causes of our climate crisis and delay progress.

Add your name to this Center for Food Safety petition to show your support for a Green New Deal that prioritizes food and agricultural issues in order to combat our climate crisis. If you’d like to help spread the word on social media, click here to tweet about it.

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