Assuring Food Security

Michael Brownlee’s presentation on The Local Food and Farming Revolution is a “must read.” In it, he clearly outlines  the things we must do to assure our future food security and sustainability (along with the reasons why). Here below I have excerpted his conclusions.–t.h.g.

Clearly, the food and agricultural revolution is already getting underway. Fundamentally, it’s not about simply about lifestyle choices or mere differences in values. It’s arising in response to a growing predicament that is at the heart of our industrial agriculture system and the heart of our globalized economy.

This transition is coming whether we like it or not, whether we’re ready or not.

I know there’s a lot of controversy around all this, and a lot of emotions. I suspect a lot of dust is going to get kicked up along the way.

Much of the debate seems to hinge around the goals of sustainability seemingly interfering with farmers’ and industry’s goals of profitability. But sustainable agriculture must of course include economic viability. And that doesn’t necessarily mean “big.”

We sometimes hear “small farming” used as a pejorative term. Small organic farmers often get pigeonholed and tossed aside as a probable relic of the past.

But at the 19th annual Farming for the Future conference in Pennsylvania earlier this month, Bryan Snyder, the Executive Director of the Pennsylvania Association for Sustainable Agriculture said something very significant, and I want to close with his words. He said:

“People like to hear about lots of acres or large numbers of animals and bushels of corn per acre measured in the hundreds. But models of farming that can gross $50,000 to $100,000 on a single acre—or CSA programs that, in some cases and on relatively small acreage, are able to count their customers in the thousands and bank $1 million or more in the spring before even planting a seed—are anything but small!”

Snyder’s conclusion is exactly what we have come to at Transition Colorado:

“We must encourage everyone, wherever they are and as a priority, to eat food produced as near to their own homes as possible. Secondly, feed thy neighbor as thyself. From this perspective, local food not only can feed the world, it may be the only way to ever feed the world in a healthy and just manner.”

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