As another year winds down, I’m appealing to you with a greater sense of urgency than ever before.
The longer industrial agribusiness is allowed to destroy soil fertility, pollute waterways, bankrupt family farms, and monopolize our food distribution system for the purpose of profiting off the sale of nutrient-deficient, pesticide- and drug-contaminated food, the harder it will be to reverse course.
We can’t wait.
When the ancient poet, Virgil, declared that “The greatest wealth is health,” he was likely referring to human health.
Virgil’s words are as true today as they were in ancient times . . . the difference is that today, our health is under attack from all directions.
Virgil couldn’t have foreseen today’s attacks on everything that makes human health possible.
Virgil didn’t anticipate a corporate takeover of food and farming, and the devastating impact that would have on the quality of our food and the health of our soil and water.
Yet nutritious food, fertile soil, and clean water form the very foundation of human health.
Ages ago, Virgil wouldn’t have had reason to predict a total collapse of our ecosystem. The insect apocalypse. The “Silent Spring.” The droughts, rising seas, and raging storms brought on by climate instability.
Nor would a poet living in ancient times have been familiar with the latest science confirming this: The health of the soil microbiome is directly linked to the health of the human gut microbiome . . . destroy one, and you destroy the other.
Today, you live with all of these threats. But perhaps the greatest threat to your health is the disintegration of our political process.
Unless we fix the system that lets corporations undermine the foundations of human and environmental health by rigging the political game, we’ll remain stuck in a perpetual game of catch-up.
Corporations use their billions in ill-gotten profits to influence regulators and policymakers.
The policies they promote are good for them . . . but bad for you, bad for family farmers, and bad for the environment.
The New York Times recently reported that 85 environmental regulations have been rolled back under the current administration.
Those rollbacks include rules that give factory farms a pass on everything from animal welfare standards, to toxic substances and water pollution.
They also put independent organic farmers at a disadvantage in the marketplace.
Our consumer education and marketplace pressure campaigns, in concert with our legal work, expose the corrupt influence of Big Food and Big Ag on Congress.
These campaigns also help grow the market for healthy, organic food.
But the future of food also depends on good farming policies that support good farmers and ranchers and build the local infrastructure they need for long-term success.
People sometimes tell me there’s no point trying to reform the policies that allow corporate interests to threaten our health. The situation in Washington is hopeless.
I disagree. Just because we’re up against unprecedented corruption in Congress now, doesn’t mean we should sit back and wait.
Now is the time to lay the groundwork for a better, healthier future.
That’s why this year, in partnership with Regeneration International and the Sunrise Movement, we launched the 20,000-member strong coalition of U.S. Farmers & Ranchers for a Green New Deal.
When things turn around in Washington—and I believe they will—farmers must be ready to claim their rightful seats at the policymaking table.
This new farmer-led coalition is already hard at work, educating consumers, fellow farmers and ranchers, and state and federal lawmakers about what must be done to fix our food system.
The members of this coalition are knowledgeable, dedicated, and eager to get to work for all of us. We’re committed to supporting them.
There’s no one silver bullet that will wipe out all the threats to your health. The reform of our food, farming, and political systems is a long game.
We’re in it for the long haul. Your support makes it possible.
Election years are tough for nonprofits like ours. We know you’re being bombarded with donation requests from good candidates, as well as from other good organizations.
We hope you’ll view a donation to OCA as a long-term investment in “your greatest wealth”—that is, your health.
Wishing you a healthy, regenerative new year!