What if we actually pulled off a Green New Deal? What would the future look like? The Intercept presents a film narrated by Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and illustrated by Molly Crabapple.
From Warren’s post:
For example, many farmers are forced to rely on authorized agents to repair their equipment. Companies have built diagnostic software into the equipment that prevents repairs without a code from an authorized agent. That leads to higher prices and costly delays.
That’s ridiculous. Farmers should be able to repair their own equipment or choose between multiple repair shops. That’s why I strongly support a national right-to-repair law that empowers farmers to repair their equipment without going to an authorized agent. The national right-to-repair law should require manufacturers of farm equipment to make diagnostic tools, manuals, and other repair-related resources available to any individual or business, not just their own dealerships and authorized agents. This will not only allow individuals to fix their own equipment — reducing delays — but it will also create competition among dealers and independent repair shops, bringing down prices overall.
I will tackle consolidation in the agriculture and farming sector head on and break the stranglehold a handful of companies have over the market.
Read the post here.
I have been following Culinaria Center for Food, Law, Policy, and Culture work in my city for a while- I find it to be very impressive, inclusive, with systemic work being done.
This interviewer may seem a little too focused on fetishizing our culture including the odd choice of requesting a midday drinking resulting in featuring massive daiquiris from our walkup and drive-through drinking culture (which, as true as that is, could use more context in the description of it), but still Pepper Bowen’s responses are excellent and thoughtful.
Bowen: What I find is that, especially for lawmakers, they really do want—as much as we give them crap—they really do want to do whatever it is that their constituents want for them to do. But the problem is that sometimes they are divorced from their actual constituents. They are also, sometimes, funded by folks whose desires and needs are at odds with their actually constituents. But by giving them the information they can make a more intelligent decision.
Still, if this gulp encourages you to check out the National Food and Beverage Museum, and Culinaria’s work, it is worth posting.
Canada’s long-awaited national food policy is getting $134.4 million over five years, on a cash basis, starting next year.
The plan will also see Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada (AAFC) oversee a new $50 million Local Food Infrastructure Fund, to be distributed over five years. The money will help fund and support “infrastructure for local food projects,” including at food banks, farmers’ markets and other community-driven projects.
I think Dr. White’s book is one of the most important on community organizing around food in some time. Not only because credit is given to the civil rights activists who founded and push our movement forward, but also because she focuses on the innovative structures of those efforts, including cooperatives. And because she uses the South and the work here to build a new system in the face of the constant, persistent institutional racism (and linked to that) the commodity system of agriculture that still have a stronghold on our policies and structure. Those systems are present across the US but they are more overt in the South, which allows us to see the struggle daily and also for white allies to understand what role they can play in dismantling those larger systems that also create the inequities that we see in our shared food system.
Q&A with Monica White: Black farmers’ role in the struggle for civil rights | Food and Environment Reporting Network
— Read on thefern.org/ag_insider/qa-with-monica-white-black-farmers-role-in-the-struggle-for-civil-rights/amp/
From the Organic Consumers Association post:
The GND, still a work in progress, is a set of ambitious goals aimed at addressing global warming and income inequality, in part by rapidly transitioning to a fossil fuel-free economy while at the same time guaranteeing everyone who wants one a job and a living wage.
The latest version of the GND was launched by the Sunrise Movement. The organization’s co-founder, Varshini Prakash describes it as “an umbrella term for a set of policies and programs that will rapidly decarbonize our economy, get all of us off of fossil fuels and work to stop the climate crisis in the next 10 to 12 years.”
Prakash told Rolling Stone that the initiative has three pillars: 100-percent clean energy by 2030; investment in communities “on the frontlines of poverty & pollution;” and the guarantee of a quality job for “anyone ready to make this happen.”
Eric Holt-Giménez, agroecologist, political economist and editor of Food First, echoes the Sunrise Movement’s position that “to create a policy sea-change, we’ll need both strong, broad-based movements and responsive, elected leadership.”
Many food activists seem to operate under the assumption that we can somehow change the food system in isolation from the larger political-economic system in which it is embedded. Changing everything in order to change our food system seems like an impossibly big task. But the food system can also be a lever for whole systems change. The Green New Deal just might be the fulcrum upon which the farm, food and climate movements can pivot our society towards the just transition we all urgently need and desire.
One of the glorious things about living in the American South is the constant profusion of green and growing things. For most of the U.S., January begins a dreary time with few respites from the daily work and life tasks. For those of us in New Orleans, it begins the most fruitful and joyous season of the year.
I’ve written about the joyous part in these pages previously so I’ll send you there to learn about our Carnival, but here is an excerpt from one post that links markets to Carnival:
The farmers markets have the same joyous Carnival attitude all winter here. Productivity does that. Satisfaction and anticipation can be seen in the faces of those behind their tables, with actual oohs and aahs from those in front spying those deep red Ponchatoula strawberries, or from a senior walking to their car dwarfed by a bag of greens. Very similar to those presenting carnival tableaux from atop a float or those catching “throws” from below. Having a sunny mild winter at the same time as a beautiful and convivial public celebration that lasts for weeks always strikes me as the best of luck that landed at my feet.
And it also reminds me how the work we do in farmers markets IS joyous and as good of a measure of the civic health of our places as public events like Carnival.
I want to talk about the fruitful part in this. One activity I am lucky to participate in here is to help harvest a 50-year old calamondin (calamansi) tree that sits in the garden of a historic house museum. I called them up some years back after noticing much of the fruit remained on it, and they gratefully invited me to harvest when I wanted. This is one of more than a few of this type of activity that my friends and neighbors in the city will invite me to participate in, but it is my favorite because it is in my neighborhood and because it is the first one that I do each year.
So around this time of year if you happen to be in the Quarter, you might notice a little group (or sometime just me) at Chartres and Ursulines with ladder, tools, and bags. We chat animatedly with each other and with passers-by. Everyone asks what the fruit is; locals assume it is a kumquat (we have a ton of those around town), but usually only people who have lived in the Philippines know the calamondin. It is a gorgeous fruit, slightly larger than a kumquat and sour in juice, but the skin is sweet. Because the skin is easily torn, it requires cutting it from the tree. When you get back home, more careful cutting happens. Once you have separated the greenery from the fruit, it’s time to wash it, and then begin to peel and then to slice the skins into ribbons. Once that is done, the marmalade is made. Most of you know the many steps and decisions that come in that process so I’ll spare you the rest. Or maybe the fruit will be used to make some sort of tonic or maybe to enhance the seafood that comes from the local farmers market.
Each of these steps means musing time, time to think about a problem or an upcoming task. For me, as it always coincides with the start of my market and farmer conference season, I am usually preparing for at least three, but maybe two or three times that number of workshops or keynotes. The mild weather, the lovely tree offering its bounty next to this graceful historic building, friends assisting, the decision on which recipe to use, the careful preparation of the jars, the buzz around me due to the season of frivolity, result in a very pleasant time thinking through what I want to say at these conferences.
This year, maybe because of the recent polar vortex up north and the government shutdown, I want to make sure these audiences feel that hope and joy that I absorb from these activities. (I am sure it also has to do with the recent passing of a great leader and friend.) I was thinking about that as I snipped away this week, and was also thinking how the big projects in organizing around food should be as planned and intentional as those long-ago gardeners who set that tree precisely in the southwestern corner of that plot, with its main truck protected behind a 2-foot thick wall, with that 2-story building directly behind it to support it during wind events. And that even though it was planted behind those walls, it was meant to be a visible demonstration of food and life in the neighborhood and meant to drop its fruit on the sidewalk side to those who have always participated in the art of gleaning.
It’s also important to remember that the harvesting and preparing of the fruit from that long-ago planning allows me the time and inspiration to purchase more of the greens and root vegetables that were planted by market farmers only a matter of weeks ago. And that type of short-term strategic thinking and intuitive work is as important as the long-term big projects that we do as organizers.
When I am picking or purchasing food from those who grow it at any time of the year I often remember that all of those plantings were based on the hope from the planner that someone (whether animal or earth) would use the harvest. Additionally for tree planters, they also have to hope that there will be future gardeners to care for the tree. Interestingly, this garden was a 20th c replanting of an earlier 18th c garden that had been torn down to build a macaroni factory during the time when our Sicilian immigrants were using the old houses in this area (known then as “Little Palermo”) for homes and for food production. The beloved author Frances Parkinson Keyes purchased the house in the 1940s and made it her home until her death in the 1970s. Under her care, the garden was rebuilt, using the extraordinary 19th c plan book city archives still maintained at the New Orleans Notarial Archives. (I wrote about those archives in a review I did on a book on these gardens and on civic spaces.)
So even in these troubled, wintry beginning days of the 19th year of the 3rd millennium and the beginning of the 19th year of the 21st century, I cannot forget or allow my fellow market organizers to forget that we all harvest food and community from others’ hopes and their careful planning some of it only weeks before and others from the time of the long gone. I get to experience that old tree up in its branches and to share the bright orange smell, taste, and sight of those calamondins in that old garden, which reminds me that this work is not always meant to offer fruit this year or even the next. And that it should be personally nourishing, and bring joy and camaraderie.
I hope I can share that properly.
The link to support this old house and its garden if you are so inspired.