Reclaiming the future of food and farming

agroecology

Margaret Reeves's picture

Food & Farm Bill: What now?

With last month’s death of the congressional Super Committee, so too died the 2011 Food and Farm Bill proposal that was folded into those fast-track talks. So what happens next?

A mixed bag of disappointments and glimmers of hope, the 2011 proposal now enters into the more normal process of policy development. Because of the tireless efforts of National Sustainable Agriculture Coalition members and many organizations around the country, this starting point for the 2012/13 Food and Farm Bill does contain some elements of our priorities — namely, support for conservation, local food, beginning farmers and organics.

Margaret Reeves
Pesticide Action Network's picture

Farm tour offers lawmakers reality check

Last Monday, Oct. 10, California lawmakers were treated to a whirlwhind tour of farms and farmworker communities along the state's central coast. The Sustainable Food & Farming Tour brought legislators to see firsthand the critical issues facing agricultural families in the state.

The tour, co-organized by PAN, Californians for Pesticide Reform and Pesticide Watch, set out from San Francisco to visit farms, schools and homes. The packed day on the road put a real-world face to many of the urgent problems raised by pesticide use, and highlighted ground-proven solutions of sustainable agriculture.

Pesticide Actio...
Marcia Ishii-Eiteman's picture

Mexican maize ready for climate change

Sin Maíz, No Hay País!” The chant is ringing out this morning across the fields, villages and towns of Mexico, in recognition of Mexico’s National Day of Corn, September 29. “Without corn, there is no country!” is the literal translation of this ongoing national campaign to celebrate and protect the cultural heritage and significance of corn to the Mexican people.

With the campaign entering its fourth year, Mexicans can also celebrate the good news that the maize that Mexican farmers have been cultivating in traditional farming systems for thousands of years already contains much of the genetic diversity they’ll need to weather the challenges of climate change in the coming century.

Marcia Ishii-Eiteman
Marcia Ishii-Eiteman's picture

Seeding Justice, Cultivating Democracy

Last week, hundreds of people poured into the Women’s Building here in San Francisco to take part in the Justice Begins with Seeds conference, organized by the California Biosafety Alliance and co-sponsored by PANNA and several other partner groups. Abuzz with activities from September 13-17, the conference provided a forum for Californians to engage in movement building that challenges the corporate food system, pushes back against genetically engineered food and seeds, and nourishes the roots of food democracy.

Marcia Ishii-Eiteman
Margaret Reeves's picture

Farm Bureau nixes safety net for green farmers

Farmers know that taking care of soil and water is essential to keep farmland productive, both now and for future generations. We, as taxpayers, should be doing all we can to support those farmers who steward the land best — especially when they face unavoidable losses.

That’s precisely why Iowa Farm Bureau leaders had agreed to press for renewing the link between crop insurance and conservation in the new Farm Bill. Sadly, it seems this position supporting sustainable farmers was overturned by last-minute, behind-the-scenes caucusing. It makes one wonder, just who is the Farm Bureau supporting?

Margaret Reeves
Marcia Ishii-Eiteman's picture

Engineering food for whom?

Warning! Nina Federoff — former “Science and Technology Advisor” to the U.S. State Department and well-known genetic engineering apologist — is back on her soapbox. In an Op Ed published in the New York Times last week, Federoff strings together one blazing falsehood after another, extolling the virtues of a technology that much of the rest of the world has rightly rejected. What is behind her evangelical commitment to this particular technology? Let’s take a look.

Marcia Ishii-Eiteman
Margaret Reeves's picture

New science on soil critters, carbon & climate

Soils are the Earth’s largest carbon storage depot after oceans and fossil fuels. Yet scientists estimate that since the industrial revolution, agricultural practices have caused massive carbon losses from the soil, contributing up to a third of all the increased CO2 in the global atmosphere.

But there's hope for restoring this great carbon sink. The science and practice of ecological farming now show that farmers can effectively put carbon back into the soil – and that this, in turn, can be a huge help in the battle against climate change.

Margaret Reeves
Marcia Ishii-Eiteman's picture

Dispelling the 'Borlaug hypothesis'

Climate change, environment and agriculture are inextricably linked. Many would have us believe that protecting the environment means feeding fewer people. Can we somehow feed the world and save rare and endangered species from extinction?

A scientific review published this month by my colleague, Michael Jahi Chappell and his co-author, Liliana Lavalle, tackles just this question. Asking “Food security and biodiversity: can we have both?” Chappell and Lavalle say yes. Citing the UN-led International Assessment of Agricultural Knowledge, Science and Technology for Development (IAASTD), among other studies, the authors explain how agroecological farming not only can feed the world, but also can enhance biodiversity.

Marcia Ishii-Eiteman
Marcia Ishii-Eiteman's picture

Organic farming = energy security

With gas prices well over $4/gallon, conversation with my neighbors frequently turns to the vulnerability of our fossil-fuel-based economy and to the future of our planet. The good news I can share today is that organic farms — besides being good for the soil, environment and our health — are proving to be much more energy efficient than conventional systems.

Marcia Ishii-Eiteman
Marcia Ishii-Eiteman's picture

A fruitful discussion of Food Democracy

A big thanks to all who came out Monday night and joined us in what was a lively conversation on Growing Food Democracy: Connecting Global Lessons to Local Action. I was thrilled to see such interest and to meet so many people in the Bay Area so deeply engaged in the work of building a just and sustainable food system.

Marcia Ishii-Eiteman

Pages