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Sustainable Agriculture Finally Gets the Support it Needs

Sustainable Agriculture Finally Gets the Support it Needs

As I have talked about in several posts, the idea of having an edible Victory Garden at the White House was the main goal of the Eat The View Campaign, and on March 20 (National Agriculture Day), their dream came true as the First Lady broke ground on an edible garden.

 

But they aren’t the only people happy about this garden. For the past nine years, I have been writing about, studying, lecturing, teaching, and volunteering on behalf of sustainable farming and farmers and I have often felt like a lone voice out in the wilderness. I confess that there have been many times when I just felt like giving up, when I wondered, “Why am I doing this?”

 

So, imagine my sheer delight when after years of thinking that it will never happen, it seems that people, especially influential and important people, have been listening, do get it, and that those who have worked even harder and longer than I to change our food system into something sustainable, managed to convince the President of the United States and the First Lady that growing an organic garden is not a luxury but a necessity. It’s a way to show others what’s possible and what can be done and what must be done. It is truly a revolutionary moment and I am so happy to be here to see it.

 

Eat the View was promoting the idea in the hopes that it would inspire people to create their own organic gardens and to show by example how to meet the challenges of climate change, energy independence, and food security. 

 

But for me, it means something even more important; this garden will demonstrate how sustainable farming not only improves individual’s health, but the health of our planet as well. As I have been writing and discussing this idea, it has led many to ask the question, what exactly is sustainable agriculture?

 

A simple definition comes from one of the preeminent organizations in the field, the University of California’s Sustainable Agriculture Research and Education Program. “Sustainable agriculture integrates three main goals–environmental health, economic profitability, and social and economic equity.”

 

The main principle of sustainability they outline is that we must the needs of the present without comprising the needs of future generations and that stewardship of natural and human resources is vital. Something that I and others have been advocating for and that if adopted, can change the current industrialized system of agriculture that has led to so much degradation of our planet and natural resources. 

 

And, just as I was finishing up this blog posting, I got another great piece of news, Michelle Obama is not the only First Lady planting an edible garden! Maria Shriver, California’s First Lady announced that they will be breaking ground on an edible garden in May. As stated in the press release, “It will promote community and educational outreach and encourage all Californians, especially children, to include fresh, healthy foods at mealtime and plant their own seeds for the future.”

 

After years of thinking that nothing would ever really happen, the steps taken by these two amazing women means that people will be talking about and writing about sustainable farming, community gardens, and edible gardens and that it will finally be at the forefront of the media, something that this LA Farm Girl has been waiting a long time for.

 

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8 comments

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6:29PM PDT on Mar 29, 2009

I am also putting in a garden this year and not useing chemical anything for bugs and what not. even though Im a country girl raised in the country Im in a new state from then and relearning how to do things. Im hopeing to feed my family of six alot better then running to the store each week!

9:45AM PDT on Mar 29, 2009

I had a large postage stamp garden in my 1 acre yard for 12 years. It was incredible! I grew just about every veggie imaginable.
Doing it organically is hard physical work at first ,but the pay off is unbelieveable! The food tastes amazing nothing like the grocery store and a bit better than a farmers stand (fresh picked). Growing plants without man-made chemicals is easier than I thought. Nature does most of the work controlling insects and disease if plants are given the right balance of nutrient and minerals, and PH is correct. (Insects are driven to plants because of stresses in their environment. Too much nitrogen, PH imbalance, too little potassium etc., etc.,)

Organic gardening is good for the health two ways-good exercise and good eating.

11:56AM PDT on Mar 27, 2009

It is not scheduled to be up for review by Congress, meaning there will be no questioning of its full meaning by your Congressmen.

Another quote about these bills:
According to the act, "Any person that commits an act that violates the food safety law ... may be assessed a civil penalty by the Administrator of not more than $500,000 for each such act."
[this includes your local organic farmer...in fact, it includes your own personal backyard garden).

Very Informative:
http://www.campaignforliberty.com/blog.php?view=12671
http://washingtonwatch.com/bills/show/111_HR_875.html
*The house bill was sponsored by Rep. Rosa DeLauro whose husband is Stan Greenberg, a Democratic pollster whose clients include Monsanto.

Food Safety Modernization Act (HR 875): Criminalization of Organic Farms Here are the actual bills:
House H.R. 875
http://www.govtrack.us/congress/bill.xpd?bill=h111-875
Senate S 425
http://www.govtrack.us/congress/bill.xpd?bill=s111-425

11:54AM PDT on Mar 27, 2009

This message was forwarded to me, and I am frickin' outraged!!Just when organic farmers are gaining a larger percent of the market, Monsanto (the devil incarnate) is using congress to guarantee that their toxic chemicals are used by each and every commercial and family farm. Please read on to get a better understanding of the bills being pushed through congress, and then DO something about it. Go to Obama's website and urge him to NOT sign these bills into law!

http://www.whitehouse.gov/contact/

There are two bills going through Congress right now that will, in essence, very likely be the end Organic Farms and virtually all organic forms of growing food in our country. They are being touted as being about food safety, i.e.: the recent spinach ecoli scares. (The husband of one of the Senators* behind this bill works for Monsanto, the chemical giant whose intention it is to control the world food supply.)

From one site:
The Bill will require organic farms to use specific fertilizers and poisonous insect sprays dictated by the newly formed agency to "make sure there is no danger to the public food supply." It stated that these provisions would apply to backyard gardens that grow food only for a family and not for sales.

The two bills are HR 875 (House) and S 425 (Senate).
HR 875 is being rushed through Congress in an attempt to get it though before the general populace (you and me) can object. IT IS SCHEDULED TO BE VOTED ON WITHIN THE NEXT TWO WEEKS. It is not sch

9:20AM PDT on Mar 26, 2009

A White House Garden is a lovely thing... but by itself and out of the larger context it is just an insular event. The power of Monsanto and others who are pushing GM seeds and effectively changing the entire basis of food production globally, will continue to impact everyone else. This huge problem cannot be ignored. It is like a rabid elephant trampling the world's last remaining natural farmers and their fields, while the only area not destroyed is behind the walls of the White House. The residents of the White House need to address this larger issue as well as model the validity of growing their own healthy produce.
C. Stafford

7:47AM PDT on Mar 26, 2009

We have a neighbor who dug up his front lawn and put in raised beds and drip system and planted vegatables and flowers.He didn't have to mow the lawn every week. Water bill one fourth as much. Labor less. Carlena Milligan

6:34AM PDT on Mar 26, 2009

I'm all for it! We need to go back to having our own home-grown garden in our backyard. This is how our ancestors survived and they didn't have all the physical problems we have today because of manufactured, packaged food, vegetables etc. Back to organic is the way!!
Jerilyn Capaccione

5:46AM PDT on Mar 26, 2009

This is a real step forward. How interesting that planting a LIVE garden in ones own back yard or neighborhood plot should become 'the thing to do' when the economy tanks and Mothers can't afford to feed their children on mass produced, tasteless food from who knows where! Hurrah! Someone up there likes us.

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