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.
- 13 Farmer Stories That Bring Honesty and Hope to Sustainable ... ›
- Elizabeth Warren and Bernie Sanders Are Talking Tough About ... ›
EcoWatch Daily Newsletter
Police have cleared 250 climate activists who stayed overnight at the Garzweiler brown coal mine in western Germany, officials said Sunday.
By Megan Jones and Jennifer Solomon
The #MeToo movement has caused profound shake-ups at organizations across the U.S. in the last two years. So far, however, it has left many unresolved questions about how workplaces can be more inclusive and equitable for women and other diverse groups.
By Tara Lohan
By now it's no secret that plastic waste in our oceans is a global epidemic. When some of it washes ashore — plastic bottles, plastic bags, food wrappers — we get a stark reminder. And lately one part of this problem has been most glaring to volunteers who comb beaches picking up trash: cigarette butts.
Andrea Rodgers, second from the right, takes notes during a hearing in the Juliana v. U.S. case before the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals in Portland, Oregon on June 4. Colleague Elizabeth Brown sits to her left, while colleague Julia Olson sits on her right, with co-council Philip Gregory on Julia's right. Robin Loznak / Our Children's Trust
By Fran Korten
On June 4, Andrea Rodgers was in the front row of attorneys sitting before a three-judge panel of the 9th Circuit Court. The court session, held in Portland, Oregon, was to determine whether the climate change lawsuit (Juliana v. United States) brought by 21 young plaintiffs should be dismissed, as requested by the U.S. government, or go on to trial.