Agriculture

Max Ajl, Uneven Earth, June 15, 2019
Drone meets cow - Mauricio Lima  (CC BY 2.0)

On the future of farming, socialist science, and utopia

Debates about the Green New Deal—Ocasio-Cortez’s version and occasionally radical varieties such as that of the US Green Party—have incited much discussion about paths to utopia. Central to these conversations is the labour question: who will do the work of making the world, and how will that work be apportioned? And how much will the US Way of Life © have to change?

Sandra Lindberg, System Change Not Climate Change, June 5, 2019
Midwest flooding of agricultural land

As a member of System Change Not Climate Change, this morning I received links to a couple of YouTube videos about stresses on 2019 crop production. Produced by climate scientist Paul Beckwith, the videos portray the world as teetering on the brink of a profound food shortage. Like so many articles and videos these days, Beckwith’s videos suggest that we’ll all be starving come September.

Max Ajl, The Brooklyn Rail, November 7, 2018
New Deal Soil Conservation Postage Stamp

The agrarianist Wendell Berry wrote once that modernity had bred a dangerous and close-to-fatal ignorance about ecology. In contrast to earlier ways of life, our social relations, which are our productive relations, do not force us to reckon with the consequences of what we consume in the course of making our lives, including making the people who come after we do. But modernity allows for exceptions.

Eric Lipton, New York Times, October 21, 2017

For years, the Environmental Protection Agency has struggled to prevent an ingredient once used in stain-resistant carpets and nonstick pans from contaminating drinking water.

Josianne Gautheir, Common Dreams, October 20, 2017

What we need is a profound and radical transformation, or dare we say, conversion of the world food system. Around the world, people are migrating within and across borders, and for many of them, hunger and food insecurity are driving them. We know that climate change, conflict, and political instability are adversely affecting food security, but if communities are still facing hunger today it is because of the flawed and damaging way in which we produce and distribute food around the world.

David Dayen, The Intercept, September 14, 2017

When Amazon purchased Whole Foods last month, it didn’t just get the retail locations. It picked up Whole Foods’ baggage as well. Among the bigger issues inherited by Amazon appears to be a four-month investigation from the animal rights group Direct Action Everywhere that challenges Whole Foods’ core selling point of healthy and humane food.

Vidhi Doshi, https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/worldviews/wp/2017/08/01/59000-farmer-suicides-in-india-over-three-decades-may-be-linked-to-, August 2, 2017

Every year, thousands of Indian farmers commit suicide. Now one researcher thinks it may have something to do with climate change.

Tamma Carleton, a researcher at the University of California at Berkeley, compared almost five decades worth of suicide and climate data and concluded that temperature variations in India may have “a strong influence” on suicide rates during the growing season.

Fionna Keating, The Independent, July 18, 2017

The Brazilian environment ministry is proposing the release of 860,000 acres in the National Forest of Jamanxim for agricultural use, mining and logging.

Paul D. Thacker, The Progressive, July 15, 2017

In April 2016, Monica Eng of WBEZ, Chicago’s NPR station, published a critical story revealing that the agrichemical giant Monsanto had quietly paid a professor at the University of Illinois to travel, write, and speak about genetically modified organisms (GMOs), and even to lobby federal officials to halt further GMO regulation.

International Panel of Experts on Sustainable Food Systems, iPES FOOD, June 20, 2017

(Brussels / Stockholm: 12th June) Cities are rising as powerful agents in the world of food, says a new report from the International Panel of Experts on Sustainable Food Systems (IPES-Food), and they are finding innovative ways to put in place policies that take on challenges in global food systems.

The report, presented today at the EAT Stockholm Food Forum by lead author Corinna Hawkes, Director of the Centre for Food Policy at City University (London), shows that food policy is no longer the domain of national governments alone.

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