Maine just voted to become the nation’s first ‘right to food’ state.

Volunteers Holly Roberts and Terry Lord pick fruit to be bagged and given away at a food pantry in Norway, Maine, on Nov. 25, 2020. State voters passed the nation’s first “right to food” constitutional amendment on Tuesday.

By Taylor Telford November 3, 2021

Maine voters approved an amendment Tuesday that enshrines the “right to food” — the first of its kind in the United States.

The amendment to the state’s constitution declares that all people have a “natural, inherent and unalienable right” to grow, raise, produce and consume food of their own choosing as long as they do so within legal parameters.

It was approved on Tuesday by 60 percent of voters based on unofficial results, according to Ballotpedia. The measure had been approved by the state legislature in May.

Continue reading Maine just voted to become the nation’s first ‘right to food’ state.


BY JAMES REBANKS AUGUST 5, 2021 in TIME. Rebanks runs a family-owned farm in the Lake District in northern England.

Belted Galloways, a native breed of cattle, on James Rebanks’ farm in the U.K.

For much of my early life America meant progress, the bright shining farming future.

I was a kid on an old-fashioned farm in the North of England, and we were way off the pace of change. We had tractors and small machinery, of course, but horse tack still hung from the beams in the barn, gathering dust, and all of my grandfather’s stories were about working horses. Ours was a mixed farm of different animals and crops, the kind of farm that existed everywhere until a few decades ago. It was all crooked little fields, no two looking the same, and every kind of farm animal and crop that would grow on it, all swirling round in a dance of rotation that only my grandfather seemed to understand.

My uncle and auntie farmed dairy cows a few miles away from us on better ground, and they were way more modern and way bigger than we were. A big, by the standards of then, specialised British dairy farm. They would take holidays to America and Canada and come back raving about the size, speed and power of the tractors and the amazing productivity of the dairy cows. They were some of the early importers of North American Holstein genetics—that revolutionised British dairy farming and doubled yields since the 1990s. They also brought back baseball caps and Hersey bars. It all seemed very cool.


Sustainable Farming – take what you need and leave the rest

NOTE: Sustainable agriculture requires good growing practices but it also may necessitate a community of support. While you may not want to adopt all of the Amish practices (“take what you need and leave the rest”), which practices described here do you think contribute to the sustainability of this farming community?

BROWNINGTON, Vt. — On a darkening December day several years ago, the temperature dropping to 10 degrees, a van with out-of-state tags pulled off I-91 and up beside the Sunoco station near this rural town. The passengers were 10 men carrying the whiff of barns and cattle. Most had bushy, untrimmed beards. All dressed plainly, as their faith demands — coarsely woven dark suits and broad-brimmed straw hats.

These soft-spoken men hailed from Pennsylvania and Ohio. The driver was a hireling, not one of them, in keeping with their refusal to operate motor vehicles.

Continue reading Sustainable Farming – take what you need and leave the rest

To fix the food system, fix our democracy

People go hungry not from lack of food but from lack of political power.


Today’s multiplying threats are truly scary — a deadly pandemic with vast economic losses, police murders reflecting endemic racism, a president trashing constitutional protections, and . . . oh yes, a pending climate catastrophe.

So fear is inevitable, and, of course, it can ignite action that saves lives. But fear can also do the opposite.Supported By

Fifty years ago, our world was also gripped by fear. Paul Ehrlich’s book “The Population Bomb” predicted “mass starvation” on a “dying planet.” The ensuing scarcity scare triggered a fixation on ever-greater production of food.

Along the way, agribusinesses have warned that only their seeds and agricultural chemicals could save us. “Worrying about starving future generations won’t feed them. Food biotechnology will,” declared a 1998 Monsanto ad.

Continue reading To fix the food system, fix our democracy

Food system causes one third of greenhouse gases

Original Post – November 13th, 2020, by Tim Radford

A New Zealand feedlot, 2020: Not good for the cattle, nor us, nor the planet. Image: By SAFE, via Wikimedia Common

How we eat causes dangerous climate heating. It’s time to change not only our diet, but the entire global food system.

LONDON, 13 November, 2020 − If the nations of the world really want to limit climate change to the level agreed five years ago, it will not be enough to immediately abandon fossil fuels as the principal source of energy: the global food system demands radical overhaul.

Humans will have to make dramatic changes to every aspect of agriculture worldwide, to planetary diet and to much else besides.

That is because the global food system − everything from clearing land and felling forests for cattle ranches to the arrival of meat and two vegetables on a suburban family dinner plate − accounts for 30% of the world’s greenhouse gas emissions. And to contain global heating later this century to no more than 1.5°C above the levels that existed before the Industrial Revolution, urgent action is needed.

Continue reading Food system causes one third of greenhouse gases

Destructive farming is the issue — not whether you eat meat or vegetables

Growing grain for cattle — who eat grass, not grain — is one of the worst idea humans have had.

The ongoing destruction of the globe’s rainforests has been brought into devastating focus by the Amazonian blazes. One of the chief mainstream responses has been: “Stop eating meat.”

On the face of it, that’s an understandable response. Much forest destruction is caused by agriculture, mostly livestock farming. About 80% of Amazonian soya grown is for cattle feed. About 60% of the cleared land is used for pasture. Horrendous. But “Stop eating meat” is a simplistic response that ignores the bigger problem: destructive agriculture.

We’ve been increasingly dividing diets into plant vs animal. It’s a split that fits nicely into social media virtue-signalling and current (insanely misguided) nutritional advice. It’s an ideological division. Viewing this sort of compartmentalising through the prism of rainforest concerns highlights its unhelpfulness.

Continue reading Destructive farming is the issue — not whether you eat meat or vegetables

Our Food is Killing Us

NY Times – August 26, 2019

 Dariush Mozaffarian and 

Mr. Mozaffarian is dean of the Tufts Friedman School of Nutrition Science and Policy. Mr. Glickman was the secretary of agriculture from 1995 to 2001.

Alex Edelman/Getty Images

The Democratic debate on health care has to date centered around who should be covered and who should pay the bill. That debate, which has been going on for decades, has no clear answers and cannot be easily resolved because of two fundamental realities: Health care is expensive, and Americans are sick.

Americans benefit from highly trained personnel, remarkable facilities and access to the newest drugs and technologies. Unless we eliminate some of these benefits, our health care will remain costly. We can trim around the edges — for example, with changes in drug pricing, lower administrative costs, reductions in payments to hospitals and providers, and fewer defensive and unnecessary procedures. These actions may slow the rise in health care spending, but costs will keep rising as the population ages and technology advances.

And Americans are sick — much sicker than many realize. More than 100 million adults — almost half the entire adult population — have pre-diabetes or diabetes. Cardiovascular disease afflicts about 122 million people and causes roughly 840,000 deaths each year, or about 2,300 deaths each dayThree in four adults are overweight or obese. More Americans are sick, in other words, than are healthy.

Instead of debating who should pay for all this, no one is asking the far more simple and imperative question: What is making us so sick, and how can we reverse this so we need less health care? The answer is staring us in the face, on average three times a day: our food.

Continue reading Our Food is Killing Us

Boston Passes a Groundbreaking Food Justice Ordinance

“In short, the Good Food Purchasing Program helps build the local, sustainable, thriving food culture that we know we need—for the sake of our planet and for the health of generations to come,” said Corporate Accountability’s Alexa Kaczmarski.(Photo: Yarian Gomez/flickr/cc)

Food justice advocates heaped praise on Boston Monday after the city’s legislative body unanimously passed an ordinance that boosts the local economy and environment as well as workers, animal welfare, and healthful eating.

“With this passage, Boston has loosened the stranglehold that corporations have over our food system, especially in schools,” said Alexa Kaczmarski, senior organizer at Corporate Accountability, following the vote on the Good Food Purchasing Program (GFPP).

“This will have ripple effects throughout the entire nation,” she added.

The GFPP, sponsored by Boston City Councilor At-Large Michelle Wu, affects public food purchasers, the largest of which is the Boston Public Schools, which has a $18 million Continue reading Boston Passes a Groundbreaking Food Justice Ordinance

Are their jobs for college graduates in sustainable agriculture?

gradOne of my most popular blogs was “Sustainable agriculture jobs after college”  in which I reflected on the process of getting work after graduating college. ”  In this next essay, I share a few thoughts about the jobs situation in sustainable agriculture.  My conclusion is that while there is much work that needs to be done, well-paying, meaningful lifetime “career” jobs that offer a sense of security are hard to find.  At the same time, many mid-career folks  who have security are finding their work unfulfilling.

It may be that getting hired for a lifetime job is an unrealistic expectation in our emerging “on-demand” economy.  And while that realization may feel disheartening, it Continue reading Are their jobs for college graduates in sustainable agriculture?