Green New Deal Plan - Food/Environment Reconstruction

Regenerative Agriculture

Agriculture is not currently sustainable. Pesticides, much irrigation, artificial fertilizers and other farming techniques destroy the soil on which all civilization is dependent. The runoff of the pesticides and fertilizer contaminate fresh water and large parts of the oceans. The foods grown with these techniques lead to myriad health problems, while factory farming of livestock leads to super bacteria and unhealthy meat. Oil is required to run farm equipment and to move food thousands of miles.

The goal of a sustainable agricultural system, a regenerative system, would be to make each region of the country as self-reliant in food as possible, with farm belts around the major city or cities, and encouragement of urban gardens. All food would be grown without pesticides or artificial fertilizer, that is, organic Such a system would require a much higher amount of labor, using intensive agricultural techniques, so that the main methods of farming would be closer to gardening than farming. If grains like wheat, rice and corn could be grown better in the Midwest, then we would want to switch to perennial varieties being pioneered by the Land Institute. Livestock must be raised sustainably, fish aquaculture should be encouraged, and the revival of the oceans must become a top priority.

Also, sea weed could be an excellent way to eliminate the approximately 4% of greenhouse gas emissions that cows cause by belching and farting, according to new research.

Jobs and Cost

According to a recent British study, 32% more labor is required for organic farming methods than for conventional approaches. Organic food now constitutes about 4% of the food market . If, ideally, all food was grown organically, then we would theoretically require about one-third more workers than the approximately 3 million currently employed on farms, or about one million more farmers. If we assume 20 workers per million dollars, this would mean $50 billion dollars per year, which would be paid for by the Federal government as part of a Green New Deal, in order to keep prices low. This might also include many more urban farmers.

The total value of current agricultural machinery is about $250 billion. So if the Federal government replaced all machinery over 20 years, it would cost about $12 billion per year, and yield 120,000 manufacturing jobs. This would be similar to the Green Manufacturing Conversion program, in that the Federal government would pay for new equipment to enable the fast conversion to sustainable production, and would also bring down the price

We could also have training programs to replicate the expertise of farmers already practicing regenerative agriculture, say at $2 billion per year.

$36 billion could be allocated to a combination of land needed for organic purposes, price supports, and the acquisition of the Federal government of some of the major pesticide/chemical and food processing producers as a way to speed up the transformation to sustainable agriculture.

Readling List:
Food, livestock production,energy,climate change, and health
Food in the Anthropocene: the EAT-Lancet Commission on healthy diets from sustainable food systems