As modern Americans, we already have a vast array of tools at our disposal to raise and distribute food in an equitable and environmentally conscious manner. But we don’t do so. We have the innovation, technology, and can-do spirit to achieve any goals that we set for ourselves. But millions of us experience food insecurity. We throw out tons upon tons of food every day. Our small farmers are barely making ends meet (trust me on this, I know from personal experience). And the vast majority of our food is being produced in unsustainable ways that pillage the land and torture the animals. Why? And more importantly, how do we change?
The primary problem is that our industrialized agriculture system is designed to create massive profits for corporate shareholders. Their overarching goal is making money, and at every decision point, that is their lodestar. Government policy makers from both parties pass laws and regulations to assist this aim. Maybe because they truly think these policies are the best way to feed our people. Maybe because these corporations fill their campaign coffers with donations. Either way, the results of these policies are plain for us all to see.
A visionary food policy would replace this solitary goal with a series of complimentary ones. Environmentally conscious and regenerative production. Equitable access to high quality commodities. Economic sustainability for small and medium sized farms. Humanely raised animals. Improved local distribution networks.
All of these goals are attainable. Many are being achieved with the assistance of state and local governments across the country. I have described my vision of an improved policy using lots of big words and complex concepts. In conclusion, I would like to break it down to something easy to digest. The culture of corporate greed is failing us. We need to replace it with a culture of compassion and justice. I know it can be done at a small level, because I have been farming this way for 9 years now. But we will have to work together to make the changes on a large scale.