The best of EcoWatch, right in your inbox. Sign up for our email newsletter!
Sanders Proposes Major Changes to Food Production System
By Jon Queally
Back on the campaign trail in Iowa over the weekend, 2020 Democratic candidate Sen. Bernie Sanders unveiled a major policy vision that includes breaking up powerful agriculture conglomerates as a way to save small farmers and rural communities who he says are facing a "major, major crisis."
Before delivering a speech Sunday at fairgrounds in the town of Osage, Sanders told the Des Moines Register in an interview on Friday that "we have got to make a decision as to whether or not we are comfortable with seeing fewer and fewer large agribusiness industries control commodity after commodity" — a dynamic, he said, he is not "happy about" and one that is undermining rural communities across the country.
According to the newspaper:
During his first Iowa trip in early March, [Sanders] targeted "factory farming" and derided the concentration of players from the corn seed market to pork production. Sunday, he plans to expand on those issues and also talk about agriculture's connection to water quality and global climate change.
Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren, often seen as competing for the same slice of liberal voters as Sanders, released her own agricultural policy in late March. She specifically called for federal regulators to break up Tyson, Dow-DuPont and Bayer-Monsanto — some of the key players in Iowa's ag economy.
Fundamental change in America’s agricultural and rural policies is no longer just an option; it’s an absolute necessity.— Bernie Sanders (@BernieSanders) May 4, 2019
Tomorrow we will announce a plan to address the major crisis rural America faces. https://t.co/QYdfcvAcsW
Asked by the newspaper whether the nation could realistically move back to a system of smaller, family farms, Sanders said he didn't "think we're going to go back to the 1880s," but did say "the heart of rural America is agriculture" and that his campaign intends to focus more on the issue of rural issues and farming in 2020 than they did when he first ran in 2016.
"I come from a rural state," Sanders said. "It's an issue we probably should have talked about more last time. We will do that this time."
According to the newspaper, Sanders said it is time for the nation to push for major changes to the entire food production system.
As Bill Neidhardt, spokesperson for the campaign, put it, Sanders believes the "rural way of life needs to be preserved both in his home state of Vermont and across Iowa," and in order to achieve that, the senator's speech — addressing corporate control over agriculture, fair trade deals, support for new farmers, climate change, clean water, rural education, rural health care and immigration — is a "call for major, structural changes to the agricultural economy."
Reposted with permission from our media associate Common Dreams.
- 19 Books to Take the Food System Back - EcoWatch ›
- 'Our Food Systems Are Failing Us': 100+ Academies Call for ... ›
- Degenerative Food & Farming System Poses Mortal Threat ... ›
EcoWatch Daily Newsletter
The University of California system will dump all of its investments from fossil fuels, as the Associated Press reported. The university system controls over $84 billion between its pension fund and its endowment. However, the announcement about its investments is not aimed to please activists.
By Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala
World leaders have a formidable task: setting a course to save our future. The extreme weather made more frequent and severe by climate change is here. This spring, devastating cyclones impacted 3 million people in Mozambique, Malawi and Zimbabwe. Record heatwaves are hitting Europe and other regions — this July was the hottest month in modern record globally. Much of India is again suffering severe drought.
By Mark Hertsgaard
The United Nations Secretary General says that he is counting on public pressure to compel governments to take much stronger action against what he calls the climate change "emergency."
A unique subpopulation of ancient walrus in Iceland was likely hunted to extinction by Vikings shortly after arrival to the region, according to new research.
By Tara Smith
Fires in the Brazilian Amazon have jumped 84 percent during President Jair Bolsonaro's first year in office and in July 2019 alone, an area of rainforest the size of Manhattan was lost every day. The Amazon fires may seem beyond human control, but they're not beyond human culpability.