A coalition of more than 300 environmental and farming groups are urging Congress to adopt food and agriculture solutions for climate change.
Not surprisingly, it ignores the business reality of feeding more than 300 million Americans and consumers beyond our shores.
The letter to Congress calls for a Green New Deal for agriculture that focuses on four key policy priorities:
-Carbon reduction that empowers farmers and ranchers to adopt ecologically regenerative and organic practices;
-Fair prices for farmers and anti-trust measures that help reverse food sector consolidation, and healthy working conditions and living wages for workers;
-Diversified and strong local and regional food economies that fights the loss of farmers and deterioration of farmland;
-Avoid agribusiness-sponsored proposals that don’t address the causes of climate crisis and delay progress.
In addition to being ignorant of the business reality of producing enough food to feed our population, the effort fails to give credit to the sustainable practices already in place.
Thankfully, no serious retail or produce industry groups have signed the letter.
Produce companies already address the good ideas in the plan.
For example, produce growers have many sustainability measures in place and constantly work toward more efficient growing practices, adopting organic growing methods when the market demand is there.
Growers always want fair prices, and because the produce industry has very little government interference and support, fair prices usually occur when supply and demand are in balance.
As far as fair working conditions and wages for farm-workers, growers and their associations have been working on labor reform for decades.
The local food movement isn’t being led by environmental groups fighting climate change. It’s being led by consumer demand and the desire to invest in people’s communities. When fruits and vegetables can be produced and sold locally, they are, whether in farmers markets, or in the vast majority, local supermarkets.
But when local is out of season, consumer demand necessitates the fruits and vegetables come from elsewhere.
Economies of scale, division of labor and specialization are not only economically beneficial, they’re often more environmentally friendly.
All these reasons show that modern food businesses, particularly produce companies, should be listened to first, not avoided, as in the coalition’s fourth point, when it comes to responsible environmental and sustainable practices.