Frequently Asked Questions

 

1. Why this bill and why now?

We are at a crossroads. Climate change is a world-threatening challenge – but also an opportunity to set a new course together.

This bill makes our pathway visible.

We already have a publicly funded food economy-just not the one we need. This bill invests our public dollars to shape successful economies designed to depend on healthy ecosystems, locally adapted food and capacity to capture carbon.

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2. What is the driving premise?

The twin challenges of food and water security and climate change impact everyone, every community. We can find common purpose in pursuing climate readiness and food and water security for every community bridging urban and rural landscapes across regions and borders. 

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3. Why this bill? Why not fix the current one?

Water! Nothing illustrates more clearly the need to create a sustainable food and water economy than the condition of water.

In 30 years, the Ogallala Aquifer will disappear. This underground water source is one of the world’s largest extending 174,000 square miles from South Dakota to Texas. The area is home to millions of acres of industrial farms growing commodity crops to feed hogs and cattle confined in enormous feedlots. Currently, the aquifer is being depleted at an annual rate of 18 Colorado Rivers. 90% of the water is used to irrigate industrial crops. Other aquifers used for irrigation face a similar fate.

The depletion of the aquifer was not inevitable or the result of simple carelessness. It is the by-product of a publicly- subsidized food economy designed to depend on this practice. And it is legal.

It is also legal to contaminate water and soil with fertilizers and pesticides. The industry’s dependence on toxic chemicals has left thousands of miles of rivers and lakes lifeless and unfit for consumption.

70% of the world’s fresh water is used to irrigate industrial crops. This simply cannot be sustained.

The leaders of the industrial food chain claim that we need this industry to feed the world.

We need to challenge that claim.

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4. How will this bill address the challenge of climate?

The industrial food chain is a major contributor to greenhouse gas emissions-44-57 % of overall emissions.

From field to table, the impacts of every link in the industrial food chain add up. Processing, packaging and transportation over long miles added to deforestation practices and waste all contribute to emissions.  The system cannot be sustained.

Conversely, locally adapted regenerative food systems depend on practices that create and maintain healthy soil and biodiversity, provide abundant sources of food and actually capture carbon.

They achieve these objectives using less energy and less land and water. The art and science of regenerative food systems provide local communities with the means to care for themselves and their ecosystems and cool the planet.

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5. Why do we need to challenge the claims of the industrial food chain?

The success of our publicly-funded industrial food chain depends on practices that erode the ecosystems we need to sustain life.

The Chain:

  • Use more than 75% of the land and in the process destroys 75 billion tons of topsoil annually

  • Cuts down 7.5 million hectares of forest annually

  • Uses 90% of fossil fuels used for agriculture and 80% of freshwater to irrigate crops

  • Is responsible for 44-57 % of all greenhouse gas emissions

  • Of the 4 billion tons of food the Chain produces per annum, 33-50% is wasted along the Chain at a cost to consumers of $2.49 trillion per annum

  • ½ of all the Chains’ synthetic fertilizers and pesticides reach the crop at one end of the food chain

  • Barely ½ of its food is consumed at the other end of the Chain

Today, 70% of the world’s food is sourced by small -scale growers using 20% of the world’s resources-including land, water, and fossil fuels.

The industry cannot compete with their results in any category.

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6. What does this bill do?

Provides an economic solution to an economic problem. Our current publicly funded food economy depends on destroying the very ecosystems that sustain life. With every acre of contaminated soil and forest removed to grow commodity crops, industrial agriculture makes us more vulnerable.

This bill shows us how we can invest our public dollars to create successful, thriving locally adapted food economies and restore health to our ecosystems and our communities.

In the new economy every community becomes a player in addressing climate change. With regenerative food systems integral to the success of every local economy, the way food is sourced and prepared, and the way we eat will help us capture carbon for good.

Communities become successful players in a planet -wide endeavor to produce abundant sources of food, capture carbon and cultivate health and well-being.

Designed to promote well-being, this economy helps us be good neighbors .

Every community will participate and benefit from the new economy.

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7. What are the costs of the industrial food chain?

For every dollar spent on food from the industrial food chain another $2 is spent on managing the Chain’s destruction.

Here is the Chain’s math:

The direct food bill paid annually by consumers is $7.55 trillion.

That bill includes $2.49 trillion lost or wasted along the Chain and the $1.26 trillion price tag for overconsumption (or 50% of the total direct bill paid for food.

Indirect costs for social, health and ecosystem damages caused by the Chain amounts to $4.8 trillion.

The total cost of the Industrial Food Chain is $12.37 trillion

Together the costs of waste, overconsumption and indirect damages incurred by the Chain totals $8.56 trillion-69 % of the Chain’s total cost is counterproductive

For comparison-The Chain’s real total cost equals 5 times the world’s annual military expenditure.

And this wasteful system only feeds 30% of humanity.

For more information see the ETC Group Report “Who Will Feed Us?

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8. How does it do all this?

Public money will be shifted from current subsidies for industrial operations to be invested in developing a successful food web linking small scale, regenerative farms providing local sources of food to Neighborhood Food Hubs (NFH) in urban and rural communities.

The food web economy is designed to align the community’s local economic development goals for climate readiness and food and water security.

Connected by common purpose, every component of the food web will serve as an incubator for generating sources of food, knowledge and skills, and more farmers. 

Fully invested in regenerative economies, communities will adopt practices that eliminate dependence on destruction of ecosystems.

Eliminating dependence on the industrial food system, communities can set and meet goals for capture carbon.

Local sourcing and delivery of food provides eliminates the greenhouse gases produced by the practices of the Industrial Food Chain from :

  • Industrial production of crops (fertilizers and pesticides)

  • Transportation (of crops and products)

  • Packaging (processed foods)

  • Deforestation (to produce commodity crops)

Communities can replace processed foods with sources of food in reusable packaging prepared on site in neighborhoods. 
For more information, see: Neighborhood Food HubNeighborhood Food Hub Network, and Food Design Economy.

Goal is to develop 365-day operations that can employ workers full time at a living wage with benefits..

See "Creating Publicly Funded Locally-Adapted Farming" for further information.

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9. How will it help communities? Our community?

The objectives of this bill are:

  • Create strong connections between rural and urban communities by linking small-scale farms that encircle an urban area. These farms provide a source of locally grown food, good paying jobs in food cultivation, harvesting, and preparation.

  • Create food hubs that provide places for community gatherings and developing skills and appreciation of food preparation and serving within the community.

  • Reduce cost and waste due to packaging, storage, and transportation.

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10. Who knows how to adapt to local climate?

Indigenous People discovered, protected or domesticated, and bred and nurtured every food species we use.

Indigenous People generated every known method of preservation including: Drying, salting, smoking, pickling, fermenting, and freezing.

With food systems designed to adapt to local climate and ecosystems, indigenous knowledge, skills and foods remain the foundation for our food security.

With a powerful combination of policies and reforms, it is estimated that these communities can produce food efficiently while slashing greenhouse gas emissions by 90%. 

Learn more.

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