We are all aware that fruits and vegetables are an important part of a healthy diet. But, some of that produce carries pesticide residues that can be harmful to our health and the health of our children.
Agroecology provides a robust set of farmer-friendly, innovative, climate-resilient solutions to the ecological, environmental, social and economic pressures facing agriculture today.
Let's take a moment to honor the women who run about a third of our country's farms. They're also often leading the way in developing more resilient practices, farming on smaller pieces of land, incorporating more crop diversity and growing food for their communities.
I had the privilege of speaking with four such farmers who exemplify the strength of women-led agriculture across the U.S.
Here they go again. Congress is once again considering “fast track” approval of the controversial Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) agreement. Fast track means no public hearings, no floor debate, no amendments — no civic engagement whatsoever.
The stakes are high. The TPP would be the largest trade deal in history, covering 792 million people and about 40% of the world’s economy. If fast track is approved, rules affecting food and farming — among many other sectors — will be negotiated completely behind closed doors.
When more than 3,000 sustainable and organic farmers get together in one place, amazing things can happen.
I spent last weekend at the Midwest Organic and Sustainable Education Service conference — aka MOSES. From its quiet beginnings in 1990, the MOSES event has grown into the largest organic farming conference in the country. The annual gathering in La Crosse, Wisconsin has become a mainstay of Midwest sustainable ag innovation, skill-sharing and community-building.
Organic farmers who use agroecological practices build healthy soil, conserve water, protect pollinators and keep the air and water clear of harmful pesticides. We owe them thanks for this. They also produce bountiful crops.
Yesterday, these hard-working farmers received an important boost of recognition from the scientific community with the release of findings from a major new study comparing the productivity of organic and conventional farming.
Food safety matters to us all, and we all play a role in keeping food safe — from farm to fork. With the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) finalizing new food safety rules, it's critical for farmers and eaters alike to speak up and ensure the agency gets these rules right.
As our friends from the National Sustainable Agriculture Coalition (NSAC) point out, provisions in the Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA) — if done wrong — run the risk of "putting farmers out of business, limiting consumer choice, and increasing the use of chemicals rather than natural fertilizers."
Before we move fully into the busy end-of-year season, it seems useful to take a moment to step back, take a breath and take stock of where we landed after the mid-term elections. Some surprisingly heartening lessons emerge.
We're all familiar with the high-level analysis by now — the very big impact of big money, ascension of climate-deniers to Senate leadership, polarization of politics, etc. But as you dig a bit deeper, a more optimistic picture comes into focus. From community pushback of corporate control to a rekindled conversation about national food policy, some very real, very hopeful shifts are in motion.
At my Thanksgiving meal with family and friends, we’ll be talking about what we’re thankful for. I'm very thankful to live in the resource-rich state of California, the topmost producer of fruits and vegetables in the country. And I'm thankful for the hard, often dangerous work that thousands of farmworkers do across the state to help bring nature’s bounty to our table.
I'm also thankful for the growing awareness that food choices matter. People in California — and across the country — are beginning to see that choosing food grown without chemical pesticides is not only healthier for their own families, but can help protect the health of farmers and farmworkers, families in rural communities and children everywhere. This is real and exciting progress.