Americans cherish the “family farm.” Most are also happy to be able to buy local foods at farmers markets, grocers or their favorite restaurants.
In the marketplace, consumers are sending the message that they want more sustainable and organic food, sales of which exceeded $50 billion last year. And the vast majority of people in our nation believe that climate change is real, and that urgent action needs to be taken.
While there is some variability depending upon one’s political affiliation, Democrats and Republicans alike hold these views. If this is what we collectively believe, across party, then surely our politics and public policies support these priorities, right?
Agave plants (the best known of which are blue agave, used to produce tequila), along with nitrogen-fixing, companion trees such as mesquite, huizache, desert ironwood, wattle and varieties of acacia that readily grow alongside agave, are among the most common and prolific, yet routinely denigrated or ignored plants in the world.
Now, a new, agave-based agroforestry and livestock feeding model developed in Guanajuato, Mexico, promises to revitalize campesino/small farmer livestock production while storing massive amounts of atmospheric carbon above and below ground.
Scaled up on millions of currently degraded and overgrazed rangelands, these agave-agroforestry systems have the potential to not only improve soil and pasture health, but to help mitigate and potentially reverse global warming, aka climate change.
Thanksgiving dinner means only one thing for millions of us: turkey. Of the 100 million turkeys on farms around the U.S., 46 million of them will be eaten on Thanksgiving Day. Americans will consume another 22 million turkeys over the Christmas holidays, according to the National Turkey Federation.
When turkeys arrive at our supermarkets, plucked and cleaned, there’s nothing to alert us to the conditions endured by most of the birds that eventually land on our holiday tables. But the vast majority of the turkeys sold during the holidays come from industrial factory farms, where as many as 25,000 birds—pumped full of antibiotics and GMO corn—are crammed into a single barn.
So at a time of year when we are supposed to be thankful for the good things in life, spare a thought for that factory-farmed bird whose life is definitely nothing to be thankful for.
Local foods, along with organic and sustainably produced foods, have demonstrated that the market can drive change towards health and ecological sustainability. However, it’s equally clear that the pace of this change is too incremental to seriously impact climate change or foster broadly based—and desperately needed—economic revitalization in rural communities.
For that, we need major investment, along with policy changes that will support sustainable farming and regional food systems, while breaking the stranglehold of Big Ag monopolies that undermine farmers, rural communities and the ecosystem.
What kind of policy do we need and how can a Green New Deal make that happen?
Industrial agriculture, with its factory farms, GMO monculture crops and toxic chemicals, is one of the leading causes of global warming. You can help cool the planet by choosing organic foods, grown using sustainable, regenerative farming practices.