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We Can Partner With Nature To Feed Everybody

Reginaldo Haslett-Marroquin is transforming the food system from the ground up by introducing poultry-powered, planet-cooling, regenerative agriculture. He talks about the need to rebalance humanity’s relationship with nature with Pip Wheaton, Ashoka’s co-lead of Planet & Climate.

Pip Wheaton: Why do you do this work?

Regionaldo Haslett-Marroquin: I came into this because of people’s suffering. I’m an agronomist; I’m passionate about nature. I believe I understand how nature operates, and how we can be partners with nature to feed everybody. The current system isn’t doing that. As a consequence, the way people live, the quality of people’s lives because of the food they eat, is impacted. Consumers are sick from conventional foods; diet related diseases, diabetes, heart disease. Minorities are more severely affected because of the way food reaches minority communities all around the world. Whether it is indigenous communities in Guatemala and Mexico, or African Americans or Hispanic or other minorities in the United States, or minorities in other countries, they’re the ones at the tail end. The people who hoard are normally able to have access to everything, but it is at the expense of the majority having real scarcity.

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A Regenerative Revolution in the Poultry Industry

NORTHFIELD, Minn. ― As a farmer, Reginaldo Haslett-Marroquin would tell you himself that he produces nothing. Nature does all the work.

However what Haslett-Marroquin can be credited for is leading a regional deployment of his patented regenerative poultry system, and managing systems development, infrastructure and farms operating under it.

Haslett-Marroquin and the Tree-Range system have turned southeast Minnesota into the epicenter of a budding movement in regenerative agriculture in the Midwest and beyond. The mission of the system is to deploy regenerative poultry at scale in the bordering region southwestern Wisconsin, northeastern Iowa and southeast Minnesota. Haslett-Marroquin said so far what’s been done is the organization of foundational support for the system and its infrastructure.

Fundamental to that infrastructure is deployment of poultry processing. Haslett-Marroquin said after a few years of work, the first poultry processing facility in Stacyville, Iowa, was purchased and is now in the process of becoming operational, with plans to open for processing next year.

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Livestock: A Powerful Tool

“Everything we humans do is 1,000% dependent on agriculture. Yet if you looked at our world from space you would consider us a desert-making species.”

That blunt observation comes from Allan Savory, a Zimbabwean ecologist, livestock farmer, and president and co-founder of the Savory Institute. He offers a remedy, however, for what he describes as the “desertification” of much of our planet: livestock grazing.

Ganadería carbono positivo: el futuro de la carne verde y la madera

“Un solo árbol aporta el oxígeno necesario que respiran tres personas por día”. Moverse de manera sustentable se ha convertido en el desvelo de toda actividad productiva. Sea industrial, como agropecuaria, como minera o de cualquier tipo, todos están bajo la lupa del cambio climático. Cuánto hacen y cuánto generan, ¿cuánto contaminan? ¿Y qué devuelven a cambio?

“El cambio climático es un tema que nos tiene preocupados, cada año la temperatura de la atmósfera marca récords y en este contexto, los árboles presentan un servicio ambiental indispensable para absorber CO2, una acción positiva que puede verse reflejada en bonos de carbono”, disparó como puntapié inicial, el presidente de la Asociación Forestal Argentina (AFoA), en el seminario sobre captación de carbono como parte del negocio forestal.

Los más de 500 personas que se sumaron a las distintas exposiciones, no sólo de Argentina sino de Latinoamérica y España, reflejan la importancia que tiene este tema para distintos sectores.

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Cattle Are Part of the Climate Solution

Rodale Institute’s updated climate change white paper, “Regenerative Agriculture and the Soil Carbon Solution,” will be published September 25th. To learn more, visit RodaleInstitute.org/Climate2020.

We’re in the process of updating Rodale Institute’s Regenerative Agriculture and the Soil Carbon Solution white paper and we wanted to talk to you about your influential work with cattle and rangeland soil carbon sequestration.

So to start, a question of semantics—there’s a lot of terms for management intensive grazing, you use adaptive multi-paddock or AMP, there’s mob grazing, high intensity rotational grazing, holistic grazing management, and now regenerative grazing. Are there practical differences between these systems?

There are small differences, but they’re all part of the same cadre in terms of a general way of doing things and the philosophy. Prior to starting our regenerative grazing studies in 1999, we worked with the NRCS who did all the soil mapping around the nation. We asked them to introduce us to farmers and ranchers who had the highest soil carbon levels. Without a single exception, they were all following Holistic Management, or a couple of variations around that. Our research has been following up on that ever since.

 

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Sacred Cow: The Case for (Better) Meat – Review

Sacred Cow:  The Case for (Better) Meat by Diana Rodgers and Robb Wolf is a book (and forthcoming film) challenging what has become conventional wisdom:  that regardless of how it is raised, beef is bad for the planet.  It takes a holistic and science-based view of the issues associated with meat and forms them into a coherent argument that regeneratively-grazed animals are important for our diets and the planet.  As they put it: “It’s not the cow.  It’s the how”.   Disclosure:  Rodgers is a registered dietitian and nutritionist who owns an organic vegetable farm and raises some livestock.  Wolf is the best-selling author of  the book The Paleo Solution.

Sacred Cow examines the issue in three parts:  nutrition, environment, and ethics.  The book covers a lot of ground.  There is no way I can adequately summarize everything, so I will focus primarily on the environment section, which I think will be of most interest to Resilience readers.

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Perspectivas de Chad, África: COVID-19, cambio climático y conocimiento indígena

REPÚBLICA DEL CHAD, África – Si bien el COVID-19 ha forzado a la mayor parte del mundo al confinamiento, tenemos la suerte de informar que nuestra serie de videos “Caminos de Regeneración” continúa viva y con buena salud. En los últimos meses nos hemos centrado en informar acerca de los efectos que la pandemia ha tenido sobre los agricultores, ganaderos y pueblos indígenas de todo el mundo.

En nuestro último episodio de “Caminos de Regeneración”, “Perspectivas de Chad, África: Covid-19, cambio climático y conocimiento indígena”, presentamos con orgullo a Hindou Oumarou Ibrahim, una activista ambientalista galardonada y mujer indígena de la comunidad pastoral de Mbororo en Chad, que practica el pastoreo nómada de ganado.

Ibrahim es una experta en adaptación y mitigación de los pueblos indígenas y las mujeres en relación con el cambio climático, los conocimientos tradicionales y la adaptación de los pastores en África. Es fundadora y coordinadora de la Asociación de Mujeres y Pueblos Indígenas de Chad (AFPAT), que trabaja para empoderar las voces indígenas y mejorar la calidad de vida mediante la creación de oportunidades económicas y la protección de los recursos naturales de los que dependen las comunidades de pastores.

Recientemente Ibrahim fue nombrada  Explorador Emergente 2017 por National Geographic. Ha trabajado por  los derechos de los pueblos indígenas y la protección del medio ambiente a través de las tres Convenciones de Río, sobre Biodiversidad, Cambio Climático y Desertificación, que se originaron en la Cumbre de la Tierra de 1992.

La comunidad pastoral de Mbororo reside cerca del lago Chad, ubicado en el extremo oeste del Chad y el noreste de Nigeria. Alguna vez fue la reserva de agua más grande de África en la región del Sahel, abarcando 26,000 kilómetros. Sin embargo, se estima que con el tiempo el tamaño del lago ha ido disminuyendo hasta llegar a una quinta parte de su tamaño original.

Los expertos dicen que el culpable es el cambio climático, el crecimiento de la población y los sistemas ineficientes de represas y riego. La pérdida de agua en el lago Chad está teniendo serios efectos adversos en las comunidades, como el pueblo Mbororo, que se ve obligado a desplazarse mayores distancias en busca de agua y pastos verdes.

En una entrevista de Zoom con Regeneration International, Ibrahim explicó que en un año, la gente de Mbororo puede viajar hasta mil kilómetros o más, confiando únicamente en la naturaleza y la lluvia. Ibrahim nos dijo:

“La naturaleza es nuestro principal sistema de salud, alimentación y educación. Representa todo para nosotros. En nuestra cultura, los hombres y las mujeres dependen igualmente de la naturaleza en sus actividades diarias. Los hombres conducen el ganado hacia el agua y los pastos, mientras que las mujeres recolectan leña, comida y agua potable para la comunidad. Esto le da a nuestra comunidad un equilibrio de género socialmente fuerte”.

Sin embargo, la degradación de los recursos naturales está amenazando estas tradiciones, lo que lleva a conflictos humanos, particularmente entre agricultores y pastores cuyo ganado a veces deambula por tierras de cultivo cercanas y causa daños. Estos conflictos han obligado a los hombres e Mbororo a desplazarse a zonas urbanas en busca de un nuevo trabajo. A veces no regresan, y las mujeres, niños y ancianos se quedan atrás obligados a valerse por sí mismos, comparte  Ibrahim.

En un esfuerzo por preservar la forma de vida nómada de los Mbororo y ayudar a resolver los conflictos entre agricultores y pastores, Ibrahim estableció un proyecto en 2012 con el Comité Coordinador de los Pueblos Indígenas de África, la Organización de las Naciones Unidas para la Educación, la Ciencia y la Cultura, y la Organización Meteorológica Mundial. El proyecto utiliza conocimiento indígena y tecnología de mapeo 3D para mapear la región Sagel de Chad, hogar de 250,000 personas Mbororo.

A través de sus mapas 3D, el proyecto reúne a agricultores y pastores que compiten por los recursos para, de manera colectiva, trazar líneas de propiedad de la tierra y llegar a acuerdos sobre caminos y corredores de pastoreo. El trabajo ha ayudado a los agricultores y pastores a ponerse de acuerdo sobre los límites de la tierra, así como a establecer un sistema de calendario para coordinar los patrones de pastoreo con la cosecha de cultivos.

El resultado es una solución beneficiosa para todos donde el ganado fertiliza y enriquece la tierra mediante el pastoreo planificado. Esto evita el daño a los cultivos y ayuda a mitigar el cambio climático. Según Ibrahim:

“Cuando experimentamos el cambio climático, utilizamos nuestra forma de vida nómada como solución. Cuando vamos de un lugar a otro, descansando dos o tres días en cada lugar, el estiércol de nuestro ganado fertiliza la tierra y ayuda a que el ecosistema se regenere naturalmente.

“Nuestro conocimiento tradicional se basa en la observación de la naturaleza, que es el denominador común de todos los conocimientos indígenas tradicionales en todo el mundo. Vivimos en armonía con la biodiversidad porque observamos insectos que nos brindan información sobre la salud de un ecosistema.

“Observamos los patrones de migración de aves para predecir el clima y aprendemos del comportamiento de nuestros animales, que nos dan mucha información. Nos fijamos en el viento. Cuando el viento transporta muchas partículas de la naturaleza durante la estación seca, sabemos que vamos a tener una buena temporada de lluvias. Esta es información gratuita que utilizamos para ayudar a equilibrar la salud de la comunidad y el ecosistema y adaptarnos al cambio climático ”.

Ibrahim cree que eventos extremos como el cambio climático y la pandemia de COVID-19 son la manera que tiene la naturaleza de hacernos saber que está enojada porque la estamos maltratando. Para sanar el planeta, debemos escuchar nuestra sabiduría y respetar la naturaleza, dice ella.

 

Oliver Gardiner es el productor y coordinador de medios de Regeneration International en Asia y Europa. Para mantenerse al día con las noticias de Regeneration International, suscríbase a nuestro boletín.

 

Living Off the Fat of the Land—Not the Fat of the Lab

All of my life I have heard, and used, the expression “Living off of the Fat of the Land.”

To me, that expression means doing well from the excesses that come from what you have. It is kind of like living on the interest that is paid on your savings account.

The definition of the idiomatic phrase supports that meaning:

To live off the fat of the land means to live well, to live off the surrounding abundance. The term live off the fat of the land was first used in the King James Version of the Bible, translated 1611, Genesis 45:18: “And take your father and your households, and come unto me: and I will give you the good of the land of Egypt, and ye shall eat the fat of the land.”

An ecosystem that is operating optimally results in an abundance, which is true wealth. This abundance occurs only when the carbon cycle, water cycle, mineral cycle, energy cycle, microbial cycle, and all of the myriad of other cycles are operating properly.

Food that is produced naturally in a good working ecosystem is good for you. It is what nature produces, and what we evolved to eat. It is the true Fat of the Land.

Sadly, industrial, centralized, commodity farming practices are very effective at breaking these natural cycles. Much of the food that we now eat is manufactured in a laboratory. I think of it as the Fat of the Lab.

We now make meat in laboratories through methods that come from reductionist science. We are told that this fat [and protein] of the lab are better for us than the fat [and protein] of the land.

In a recent interview with CNBC, Impossible Foods CEO Patrick Brown expressed how he thinks the meat market will be obsolete in 20 years.

“From a nutritional standpoint our products match the protein quality and content of the animal products that they replace” and “ours is a clear winner from a health and nutrition standpoint,” [Brown] said in a “Mad Money” interview.

“This is why I think people are increasingly aware plant-based products are going to completely replace the animal-based products in the food world within the next 15 years. That’s our mission. That transformation is inevitable,” he told host Jim Cramer.

What could possibly go wrong in these laboratories? Many scientific processes and technologies are invented through reductionist science. These scientific methods almost always have unintended consequences that go unnoticed, often, for decades.

Of course, there can be good consequences (like penicillin for example). But more often than not, what we may call a “scientific breakthrough” at the time can later be recognized and recalled for dangerous unintended consequences.

Think about the number of modifications that we tried to impose on natural cycles, only to find out the unintended consequences later: using chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs) as a refrigerant or in aerosol sprays that depleted the ozone, adding antibiotics in poultry and livestock feed that are growing antibiotic-resistant diseases, eliminating wolves from national parks that led to overpopulation and starvation.

Brown says that the transformation from meat to to plant-based products made in a lab is “inevitable”. To that I say:

• There is no natural cycle that creates fake meat.

• There is no regeneration of land when meat is made in a lab.

• Nor is there any reversal of the impoverishment of rural America that was caused by industrialized agriculture.

• There is nothing inevitable or permanent about creating a new manufacturing process, unknown to nature.

The Fat of the Lab is very new. The Fat of the Land has been under testing for a really long time. In our family, we’ve been living and eating The Fat of our Land since 1866. I trust cows and hogs a Helluva lot more than I trust chemists and marketers.

Wall Street and Silicon Valley will lie to you. Livestock don’t lie. CEO’S are self-serving. Cows are sincere.

Will Harris, owner of White Oaks Pastures Farm in Bluffton, Georgia, is a fifth-generation farmer and rancher. Harris is a co-chair of the national coalition of U.S. Farmers & Ranchers for a Green New Deal.

Manejo Holístico: ¿Puede cambiar el rol de la ganadería en el futuro?

Términos como regenerativo, ecológico, natural están cada vez más presentes y surge otra opción bajo el nombre de Ganadería Regenerativa (GR).

Para conocer más sobre este nuevo paradigma basado en el Manejo Holístico (MH), AgrofyNews dialogó con Juan Pedro Borrelli, coordinador de la Escuela de Regeneración (ER), un proyecto incubado por Ovis 21. Esta escuela nació en 2013 con el objetivo de enseñar y aprender actividades que promuevan la regeneración de los ecosistemas y las comunidades.

En palabras de Borelli, se trata de una ganadería que aumenta el capital biológico y social. “Permite incrementar la tasa de infiltración de agua de los campos, la biodiversidad, secuestrar carbono en suelo y favorecer las especies perennes”.

¿Cómo? Según la ER, durante mucho tiempo se creyó que había un conflicto entre producir más y cuidar la tierra. Al respecto, señalan que el MH rompió esa falsa antinomia y permitió aumentar la rentabilidad de los predios al mismo tiempo que se regenera la tierra.

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Carbon Cowboys Versus CAFOs

The COVID-19 pandemic has brought many fragile industries to the breaking point and highlighted systemic problems in others, including the industrialized, centralized food system in the U.S. Major meat processing plants have emerged as hotspots for transmission of SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19.

Prior to the Defense Production Act, which compels meat plants to stay open in order to protect the functioning of the U.S. meat and poultry supply chain, being invoked in April 2020, many were forced to shut down. As threats of meat shortages emerged, farmers were faced with the grim prospect of killing thousands of food animals just because they had nowhere to send them to be processed.

The system created to serve concentrated animal feeding operations (CAFOs) has cracked during the pandemic, putting U.S. food supplies in jeopardy. Meanwhile, so-called “carbon cowboys” — those who have embraced an alternative method of food production that works with nature instead of against it — not only are surviving the upheaval but thriving, all while providing nutritious food to their communities.

‘Carbon Cowboys’ Persevere, Thrive During Pandemic

The dichotomy between CAFOs and carbon cowboys could not be more stark, with CAFOs that control the majority of U.S. meat and poultry largely reliant on a limited number of large processing plants. “The coronavirus is showing how food supply has become too centralized, especially for meat processing,” Peter Byck, an Arizona State University professor, told Fox News.

Byck directed a 10-part documentary titled “Carbon Cowboys,” following farmers who use regenerative grazing techniques, allowing them to largely avoid chemical pesticides, fertilizers and other pitfalls of industrial farming while building carbon-rich soil that increases crop health and livestock yields.

“We could use a lot more mid-level meat processing plants, all around the country. So, if one plant went down, there would be others to pick up the slack. It’s one of the reasons the farmers in the film are often making so much more money — because they’ve created their own supply chain and selling direct to customers,” Byck said.

Indeed, regenerative farmers who sell their products directly to consumers and rely on small processing plants are not facing the hardships that CAFOs are seeing. While meat from small, custom slaughterhouses is not permitted to be sold to grocery stores, schools or restaurants, it can be sold directly to customers who have purchased an entire animal prior to slaughter through a share program, as well as via local farmers markets.

Allen Williams, a sixth-generation farmer and chief ranching officer for Joyce Farms, is one of the carbon cowboys featured in the film. He cited a 400% to 1,200% increase in demand for regenerative producers, and though the film has been in the works for six years, the farmers it features stated they’re seeing a three- to 10fold increase in demand compared to last year, thanks to their ability to market directly to consumers.

Will Harris III, owner of White Oak Pastures in Bluffton, Georgia, also cited the need for smaller, decentralized processing facilities to free up the bottleneck that’s placing a hardship on so many farmers. By creating “at least one medium-sized plant in every state,” food that currently travels an average of 1,500 miles to get to consumers would only need to travel 100 or 200 miles. This, he says, is key to transforming the U.S. food system:

“We have to build out additional capacity. We need processing of the middle. We don’t need a lot more mom-and-pop processors. We need processing facilities with 100-500 per day capacity to start …

With more processors, more farms can transform and thus grow small businesses and the rural economy. These communities that are dead and boarded up will come to life and rural economies will surge. The country’s economy surges when small businesses and communities thrive.”


Meat Prices May Rise as Plants’ Poor Conditions Spread Virus

Tyson, JBS USA, Smithfield Foods and Cargill Inc. control the majority of U.S. meat and poultry, processing it in a handful of centralized mega-processing plants. The plants are notorious for their poor working conditions even under ordinary circumstances, but in the midst of a pandemic, the elbow-to-elbow spacing and fast line speeds have made the low-paying job even more hazardous.

It’s unknown just how many COVID-19 infections have occurred among the more than 500,000 workers employed by the approximately 7,600 slaughter and processing facilities in North America, but internationally it’s suggested that more than 10,000 meat workers have been infected while at least 30 have died as a result. The cases aren’t confined to inside the processing plants but, rather, are spreading to the community.

An analysis by the Environmental Working Group (EWG) found that counties with meatpacking plants, or within a 15-mile radius, reported 373 COVID-19 cases per 100,000 residents, which is close to double the U.S. average of 199 cases per 100,000.

To slow the spread of infection, some plants have slowed production to adhere to social distancing measures, while others have installed barriers between workers and in common areas. Other processing plants are ramping up efforts to automate the process, accelerating plans that have been in the works since long before the pandemic.

“You are going to see a bifurcation where the larger, more profitable facilities are going to move toward a vastly more automated meat processing facility,” Decker Walker, an agribusiness expert at Boston Consulting Group, told the Longview News-Journal. “Incentives for automation have never been higher.” Ultimately, consumers will pay for the changes being implemented throughout the industry.

Sanchoy Das, a professor at the New Jersey Institute of Technology, predicted that reduced capacity at processing plants, along with the distribution of protective equipment, could drive up conventional chicken prices by 25% to 30%, adding, “The 99-cents per pound chicken could be in short supply very quickly.”

Is Big Meat Really Cheap?

The increase in meat prices, as well as the increased demand for higher priced niche meats like heritage pork and grass fed beef, is also highlighting a socioeconomic divide in the U.S. While some grocery outlets are running out of supplies of low-priced CAFO meat, demand has ramped up for specialty meat products, for those who have the income to support it.

However, as the processing facilities spread disease and necessitate shutdowns, we’re now seeing the high price that is ultimately paid for the convenience of cheap meat, whereas regenerative farming, while often producing a higher-priced product, remains able to supply food to local communities, without the environmental destruction and disease outbreaks caused by industrial agriculture. As Bloomberg reported:

“The virus has had limited impact on the output of specialty meats for some of the same reasons those products are more expensive. The plants aren’t run on huge economies-of-scale, where hundreds of workers are jammed into elbow-to-elbow working conditions processing thousands of animals each day.

Instead, livestock are raised on organic feed and pastures and then processed in relatively tiny plants or local butcher shops. It’s small-scale production, which means social distancing is easier and companies can more readily enforce sanitary precautions. Even if one plant goes down, it only accounts for a small fraction of supply, and the larger chain isn’t broken.”

Meanwhile, prices for specialty meat are holding steady while conventional meat prices have risen sharply in recent months. The price for conventional ground chuck, for instance, increased by 57% compared to a year ago, according to USDA data.

Ultimately, if demand for grass fed meat increases, and processing facilities are available to distribute it, it can become more accessible for all. And, it’s important to remember that real costs come with Big Ag’s “cheap meat.” The Organic Consumers Association (OCA), in fact, has sued pork giant Smithfield Foods for claiming its products are the safest U.S. pork products.

“Consumers are unlikely to know that the USDA has notified Smithfield slaughter plants on multiple occasions that their pork was more likely to be contaminated with salmonella than similar products in slaughter plants of the same size,” said Ronnie Cummins, OCA co-founder and director.

“Failure to report these notifications to consumers is one thing. But claiming that its products are the ‘safest’ possible pork products in the U.S. is a blatant misrepresentation of the brand’s actual safety record,” Cummins said. “The current heightened consumer concern about safety in the meat industry is all the more reason to hold Smithfield accountable for false safety claims.”

The conditions in which cheap meat is raised and processed are the same that have been found to contribute to antibiotic-resistant disease as well as the emergence of diseases that may be transmitted from animals to humans, a high cost for all of humanity.

Food System Is Changing, Is Reform Coming?

The pandemic started with Americans hoarding food and has triggered a newfound, or perhaps old-fashioned, trend to cook more meals at home. The return to home-cooked meals has been a boon to meal kit companies, which have cashed in on Americans’ desire to eat at home and have their groceries delivered while they’re at it.

Meal-kit delivery service Blue Apron noted a 27% increase in demand in late March and early April 2020, while online food retailer Thrive Market cited two distinct waves of increased demand — the first for certain products like toilet paper and hand sanitizer and the second from those seeking to replicate their normal grocery shopping online. Many of these changes are likely to remain even post-pandemic.

“People are more confident in the kitchen than they used to be before, and more than half of them intend to cook at home more than they did before Covid-19, even as things start to settle down,” Blue Apron’s chief executive Linda Findley Kozlowski told The New York Times. Still, as Americans’ desire for fresh, safe and readily accessible food has peaked, many small farmers are struggling.

With restaurants and farmers markets closed, small farmers have lost steady customers. Many have pivoted and have begun supplying produce boxes directly to consumers, but such changes are labor intensive and farmers may not be able to keep up with the demand. In a survey of small farmers, between 30% and 40% predicted they could be bankrupt by the end of 2020.

Representative Chellie Pingree, D-Maine, is among those calling for reform and suggesting that the pandemic is providing a unique opportunity for change:

“As the owner of a small farm, I’m frequently amazed at how little Washington understands the work that goes into putting food on our plates, but coronavirus has made it impossible to ignore the labor of grocery store employees, farmers, processors and food producers. Our nation is collectively acknowledging what’s always been true: Those who grow, sell and serve our food are essential workers, and we should treat them as such.”

In addition to calling for an essential workers’ bill of rights that would provide benefits to essential workers in the food system, and expanding access to locally produced food for food banks and Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program beneficiaries, a key part of the change should be making locally raised livestock processing more widely available.

Under current government regulations, the USDA, not individual states, has control over how meat is processed, and small farmers must send animals to be processed at a USDA-inspected slaughterhouse, which may be hundreds of miles away. The state of Maine, for instance, has only one USDA poultry plant in the state.

The PRIME Act Is More Important Than Ever

The Processing Revival and Intrastate Meat Exemption (PRIME) Act would allow farmers to sell meat processed at smaller slaughtering facilities and allow states to set their own meat processing standards. Because small slaughterhouses do not have an inspector on staff — a requirement that only large facilities can easily fulfill — they’re banned from selling their meat. The PRIME Act would lift this regulation without sacrificing safety.

“The PRIME Act would change federal regulations to make it easier to process meat locally, helping small farmers stay afloat during this economic crisis while simultaneously keeping food on our plates,” Pingree said. “This bill would shift more safety oversight to states, some of which already have equally rigorous inspection practices, and break down barriers for small farms looking to sell their product.”

The solution to food reform is not, as some lab-grown meat companies would like you to believe, to create a fake meat industry without animals — that is big technology’s ultraprocessed dream.

Replacing farms and livestock with chemistry labs is not the “environmentally friendly” alternative envisioned by biotech startups and its chemists. The long-term answer actually lies in the transition to sustainable, regenerative, chemical-free farming practices, and making the sustainably-grown foods produced by small farmers accessible to all.

Reposted with permission from Mercola