Getting a Handle on Excessive Consumption with Meatless Monday

This post appeared first on the EAT Stockholm Food Forum blog on 5 June, 2018.

The work that my colleagues and I do is focused on building a better food system—but what we are really trying to do is build a better world. The goal is simple: we want a healthier planet with healthier people living on it. The problems we tackle to work toward our goal, however, are rather complex. We tackle challenges such as nutrition, food security, environmental stewardship and land use—and while diet and food production have critical roles to play in each of these challenges, there’s no single solution. Ultimately, we need to think about systems of solutions. And reducing how much meat we consume is one part of that system. Read More >

Wendell Berry Wants Us to Get Small and Stay In

Wendell Berry with the CLF communications team, Dec 8 2016.

Wendell Berry humors the CLF communications team with selfies and signings, Dec 8 2016.

When Wendell Berry met with a small group of us for an informal conversation at the Johns Hopkins Center for a Livable Future, we promised to try not to talk him to death. “Well,” he said, “if you did, that would be the end of my troubles.”

Mr. Berry, age 82, beloved writer, poet and farmer, was in town for a two-day visit during which he talked with Eric Schlosser about what he calls “the world-ending fire.” The next day he read from his new essay, “The Thought of Limits in the Prodigal Age,” in which he discussed his vision for an authentic land economy. Intrigued by some comments he made earlier Read More >

A 50-Year Farm Bill?

The Washington Post’s Jane Black wrote a great Q & A piece in today’s paper with Farmer-Writer-Academic Wendell Berry; Wes Jackson, president of the Land Institute,; and Fred Kirschenmann, Leopold Center fellow and president of the Stone Barns Center. The three had traveled to DC to promote an ambitious proposal to legislators for a new form of food policy in the shape of a 50-year farm bill.

“The plan asks for $50 million annually for plant breeding and genetics research,” and “puts forward a new vision of agriculture, one that values not only yields but also local ecosystems, healthy food and rural communities,” writes Black in the piece, “3 Wise Men, Planting Ideas Where It Counts.”

Says Jackson of the 50-year farm bill: “The idea begins with acknowledging that nature covers much of the land with perennials, and agriculture reversed that thousands of years ago. In our modern times, we’ve offset the consequences with management techniques and fossil fuels that are nonrenewable and contribute to greenhouse gases.”

Black asks Kirschenmann about the approach of using Genetically Modified Plants (GMOs) to feed a growing population. “If you think about it, that approach really isn’t working here,” he notes. “If it weren’t for subsidies, farmers wouldn’t be able to buy the technologies that are supposed to save us. How are African farmers going to afford the technologies?”

Could inside-the-beltway thinking grasp something in a 50-year interval? Both Jackson and Kirschenmann believe so, citing Washington’s apparent ability to tackle long-range issues like climate change and population growth. “They have to extend the horizon. So we think the time is right to add agriculture to that.”