With both primaries behind us, it is nigh time to settle in and look beyond the chants and cheers, the ever waves of signs, the bright lights and impassioned speeches. It’s time to uncover the dirty details of where both parties stand on agricultural policy. What is the philosophical platform each one holds that will support us into our agrarian future? How do they compare with your ideas on food and farming? Let’s take a deep dive into both parties’ platforms! Continue reading
Down on the farm there is simultaneously an explosion of weeds and a retraction of seeds, a waxing and a waning, the yin and yang of Big Ag. These concurrent phenomena are (not coincidentally) caused by the same companies who are striving to control and harness agriculture. They hope to force every last bushel of productivity out of every single acre, achieving yields well beyond those imagined even a few years ago. These companies laid down their financial roots producing toxic chemicals. In days gone by they brought chemical warfare into the fields of battle. Now the battle is being fought in the fields of our farms. Corn fields, soy fields, cotton fields, are all now battle fields, where weeds run rampant and seeds are at a premium. How is it that the proliferation of weeds and the demise of our seeds are entwined? This story begins thousands of years ago… Continue reading
I am attending the Sustainable Ag and Food Systems Funders (SASFS) conference in Denver this week and a provocative subject was raised about the dominant story we harken to regarding our agricultural system. The message is everywhere: in subway stations, at the baseball game and of course on television. “How do we feed the world? We feed the world only through more technology, greater concentration and the exploitation of resources.” But in truth, are these strategies really serving us? How do WE feed the world when our agricultural system has created food deserts, obesity, and the decline of the family farm, degradation of our soils and waters, and exploitation of our animals? Should not the narrative first be how do we feed OURSELVES?
It has been quite a few years since the green movement of the 1960s and 70s gave root to the “back to the land” ethos that was the birthplace of organic foods. Global climate change is part of the daily discussion now, and there are very few naysayers willing to deny that we are changing the very ecology of our planet. Companies that make and sell organic products not only promote products that are good for the planet, they are also on the cutting edge of reducing the ecological footprint while doing business. Continue reading