“Today, tens of thousands of young people with the Sunrise Movement are linking arms with the tens of thousands of farmers and ranchers in this historic coalition to demand a Green New Deal that reinvests in our family farms and empowers them to be the heroes we need them to be to stop the climate crisis.” – Garrett Blad, Sunrise Movement, September 18, 2019
WASHINGTON, D.C. — On September 18, Regeneration International, with the Sunrise Movement and Organic Consumers Association (OCA), officially launched the national coalition of U.S. Farmers & Ranchers for a Green New Deal.
Earlier in the day, the coalition delivered a letter to every member of Congress, signed by more than 500 individual farms, and 50 organizations representing more than 10,000 farmers and ranchers, asking Congress to support the Green New Deal Resolution and pledging to work with Congress to reform U.S. food and farming policy.
Representatives of the Women, Food & Agriculture Network, Indiana Farmers Union and American Sustainable Business Council joined in the press conference, which was covered by multiple media outlets, including Politico, The Hill, Civil Eats and FERN AgInsider.
Coalition will focus on much needed policy reform
As Ohio farmer and writer, Gene Logdson, wrote in his article, “The Myth of the Self-Made Yeoman:”
No figure is more endearing and enduring in agriculture than the lonely plowman out there on the horizon who raises himself by his own bootstraps to financial success. Only problem is, there is no occupation more dependent on the cooperation of society and nature to achieve success than farming.
The “cooperation of society” must include policy support. Yet it’s tough to get policy support in the U.S. for organic and regenerative farmers and ranchers—when Big Ag spends more on lobbying for policies to prop up its degenerative GMO monoculture and factory farm practices than do lobbyists for the defense sector, as reported by Truthout.
Agribusiness lobbying efforts result in billions of dollars worth of subsidies, which go primarily to the largest and wealthiest farmers—whose practices are polluting our waterways, producing junk food and destroying soil health. In fact, the largest 15 percent of farm businesses receive 85 percent of the $25 billion spent annually on farm subsidies.
As Rep. Earl Blumenauer (D-Ore.) said at the press launch of the U.S. Farmers & Ranchers for a Green New Deal:
“We’re paying too much to the wrong people to grow the wrong food in the wrong places.”
Empowering farmers to work for us all
How do independent organic regenerative farmers and ranchers compete with Big Ag’s deep pockets for policies that help them—and by extension, help all of us? Policies that empower them to transition to practices that keep our water clean? Policies that give more of us better access to healthier food? And policies that restore climate stability?
We hope it’s by forming a grassroots lobbying coalition that works together with—not just in parallel with—the food and natural health movements, the social and economic justice movements, environmentalists and climate activists to pressure Congress to pass a Green New Deal for farmers and ranchers.
Last week was just the start. Now, the work begins. The coalition will work to grow larger and more powerful—since the September launch, the coalition has grown to include 600 individual farmers/ranchers and 52 organizations representing about 20,000 farmers total.
Coalition members are now organizing farmer-to-farmer outreach. They’ll fan out into their communities to connect with consumers, environmentalists, church groups and climate activists—anyone who cares about the future of our food and our environment.
Ultimately, the coalition will use the grassroots power it builds to work with Congress, especially the coalition’s Congressional Advisory Committee, to rapidly scale up U.S. food and farming policy change. Plans include organizing Congressional briefings and hearings, and inviting members of Congress to visit regenerative farms to see for themselves how regenerative agriculture restores soil health, including the soil’s potential to sequester carbon, and reinvigorates local economies.
Follow these links for more on the U.S. Farmers & Ranchers for a Green New Deal: