WASHINGTON, D.C. – A coalition of more than 300 groups today sent a letter to Congress calling for a Green New Deal that prioritizes food and agriculture solutions to climate change. The coalition, made up of farming, ranching, fishing, farmworker, food, agriculture, consumer, public health, and environmental organizations urges Congress to adopt a just transition to a sustainable food and agricultural future centered on America's farmers, ranchers, fishers, and workers.
"The Green New Deal offers a unique and profoundly important opportunity to protect our common shared future," the groups write. "Science shows conclusively that we have no time to lose, and that making fundamental changes to our food and farming system is urgent and central to stabilizing our climate and ensuring food security for current and future generations. Fortunately, there are solutions — well-demonstrated, effective and profitable agricultural practices at all scales in all regions of the country — that can help reduce pollution and repair our environment and climate while revitalizing communities across the country."
The letter identifies four key policy priorities for a Green New Deal:
1. Carbon reduction, sequestration, and climate resilience via a rapid, just transition that empowers farmers and ranchers to adopt ecologically regenerative, organic and agroecological practices;
2. Fair prices for farmers, ranchers and fishers, anti-trust measures that help reverse food sector consolidation, and healthy working conditions with family-sustaining living wages for workers;
3. Diversified, resilient, local, and regional food economies anchored by family farmers, ranchers, and fishers that ensure healthy, sustainable food for all, combat consolidation in the food and farming sector and reverse the rapid loss of farmers and deterioration of farmland;
4. Avoid "false solutions" and agribusiness-sponsored proposals that do nothing to address the systemic causes of our climate crisis and delay progress.
"The original New Deal helped America's farmers survive the Great Depression and feed our nation while restoring farmlands and soil," the groups write in the letter. "The Green New Deal can do even better: restoring our climate by regenerating soil and biodiversity while ensuring fair prices and family-sustaining livable wages for the farmers, ranchers, fishers, and workers who bring food to our tables. Solutions must be community-driven, equitable, regionally specific and appropriate, and must promote the leadership of frontline communities disproportionately burdened by our climate crisis and by the unsustainable industrial food system."
The letter continues: "Climate upheaval threatens our nation's food security and costs taxpayers, farmers, and food companies tens of billions of dollars a year at a minimum. Agriculture and industrial food production generate nearly one-quarter of all global climate-change emissions, making the food sector a leading producer of carbon dioxide, methane, and other greenhouse gases."