Thursday, May 05, 2005

Can we make farming sustainable?

Global Public Media has a transcript of one of the most eloquent presentations I have ever read on sustainable agriculture. Here are some excerpts:
The path to a sustainable food system passes through the people it feeds, and it must be built on the local level. For this reason, a sustainable agricultural system cannot be considered separately from a sustainable society.

....The average meal in the U.S. travels 1500 miles from farmgate to plate, through a myriad of processors, packagers, handlers, truckers, warehouses and chain stores. By the time it reaches the consumer up to 75% of the nutritional value is gone.

....The farmer who grows the food that should be sustaining you is not sustaining himself - typically he or she receives 10% of the food dollar; while at the turn of the century that farmer could count on 50%. For any farming system to be sustainable, the first thing that must be sustained is the farmer.

....We suffer from an illusion of unprecedented prosperity and economic growth while we live in a land of degraded farms, forests, ecosystems and watersheds; polluted air, failing families and perishing communities. We must bring the security of our planet’s ecological capital into the calculations of the marketplace.
The first half of the speech by a CSA (Community Supported Agriculture) farmer lays out the ideology that has gotten us where we are. The second shows the way back. It's the positive vision we sorely need.

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