• Monthly
  • $25
  • $50
  • $100
  • $other
  • use PayPal

SPRING FUNDRAISER

Is it time for our Spring fundraiser already? If you enjoy what we offer, and have the means, please consider donating. The sooner we reach our modest goal, the faster we can get back to business as (un)usual. Please, stay safe and we’ll see you down the road.
FacebookTwitterRedditEmail

Homegrown Crisis Response: Who Grows Your Food?

The best COVID 19 response that I’ve heard to date came from Jessica. Asked if she was prepared for the chaos, she said her cupboards contained a reasonable amount of food, but most importantly, she still had greens in her garden. Food was growing, in the ground, at the home where she lived.

Her words were a welcome change from the texts and phone calls that had poured into my phone over the prior week. Little did I know on March 11th, that I was attending a conference in the heart of what would prove to be a hotspot for coronavirus infection. Hundreds of mostly young people gathered in New Orleans, attending the 4th National Good Food Network Conference, sponsored by the Wallace Center. I was a part of a plenary panel entitled, “From Whence We Come” with several other veterans of the good food movement.

The palpable emotional response from attendees contained fear, bordering on panic. My colleagues quietly and steadily began to retreat from the conference. An ember was becoming a flame-over the origins of the virus, our health, and of course, the food supply. Who was going to control the food supply? Can you control your own food supply? What legislation can be passed that will give you more control over the food supply?

$23.5 billion was allocated for farmers in the COVID-19 economic stimulus bill. This is in addition to the $28 billion that was allocated to the US Department of Agriculture for tariff supports to farmers over the past two years. Agricultural Secretary Sonny Purdue has broad discretion over spending these funds. I am calling for five percent of the over $50 billion to farmers-a mere $2.5 billion-to be allocated to small farms and urban agriculture. This new Agricultural Homestead policy would support infrastructure development for small farms and urban agriculture, as well as provide small inputs for home gardeners. The Big Ag system of mass producing nutrient-deficient, GMO foods that we have known for the last 75 years, is broken. The paradigm has changed. The current pandemic is contributing to the creation of a new world order.

Small farms and urban agriculture extend backyard gardens into a viable economic system for just and equitable food distribution, based on sustainability and self-sufficiency. They shift the paradigm from Big Ag to thriving local food systems, under local control. The local food economy generates economic webs that launch entrepreneurs and create employment. Natural urban agriculture brings nutritious food close to home, which is transformative in the best of times, and critical in meeting challenges such as the COVID 19 pandemic.

While I was at the Good Food Conference, my son called from D.C., reporting that there was no food in the store. Whole Foods shelves were empty, and they were not answering phones. Jeff, in Atlanta, texted to ask, “Have you been to the grocery store? People are clearing the shelves out of fear of eating in restaurants because of the coronavirus.” He continued: “Buying land, farming, and homesteading are about to become very relevant again.” How true, I replied!

Upon my return to Atlanta, Tina called, somewhat distraught, looking for advice. She wanted to know what was stored in both my cupboard and freezer. I explained that if the grid went down, freezers would be of no practical use. I told her I stored navy beans, brown rice and gallons of water.

The best way for people to ensure good supplies of quality food is to grow it themselves. Whoever controls your food controls you! That is an indisputable truth. Stated another way, if you do not control the sources of your food, someone else will. With many states under lockdown, grocery store shelves are emptying fast, with lines continuing out the doors. Shoppers are putting themselves at risk, just to gather essentials.

Even as we confront challenges to human health, our larger environment remains fragile. In addition to producing quality food, the local food economy reduces fossil fuel consumption by minimizing the long-distance transport of fruits and vegetables. Climate change is mitigated, and carbon sequestered.

For millennia, humankind lived within walking distance of where their food was produced. More and more people in this country are beginning to accept that concept and are returning to a pre-industrial regenerative mode of food production. Now is the season. Significantly, most civil authorities are allowing grocery stores to remain open, although in a controlled manner. If you don’t have food in your yard, the next best place to obtain it is from the nearest local farmer’s market.

The new world order that I’m visioning includes food justice, exemplified by universal access to wholesome foods, close to where people – ALL PEOPLE – live. A new food economy world order is an imperative of our time. We have to choose what order will lie on the other side of the COVID 19 pandemic. The time to choose is now. Grow your own food and grow your community

References.

Anderson, S. (2020). Trump Tariff Aid To Farmers Cost More Than US Nuclear Forces. Fornes, Jan 21, 2020.  (Forbes)

Lipton, E. & LaFraniere, S. (2020). For Farmers, Stimulus Bill Means Subsidies Continue to Flow. New York Times, Mar 27, 2020 (New York Times)

More articles by:

Rashid Nuri is the author of Growing Out Loud.

June 02, 2020
Zoltan Grossman
Deploying Federal Troops in a War at Home Would Make a Bad Situation Worse
Nicholas Buccola
Amy Cooper is Christian Cooper’s Lost, Younger Sister 
Manuel García, Jr.
Global Warming is Nuclear War
Patrick Cockburn
An Unavoidable Recognition of Failure: Trump’s Withdrawal From Afghanistan
John Feffer
Is It Time to Boycott the USA?
Kathy Kelly
Beating Swords to Plowshares
Lawrence Davidson
U.S. Urban Riots Revisited
Sam Pizzigati
“Failed State” Status Here We Come
Ron Jacobs
In Defense of Antifa
Cesar Chelala
Bolsonaro and Trump: Separated at Birth
George Wuerthner
The BLM’s License to Destroy Sagebrush Ecosystems
Danny Antonelli
The Absurdity of Hope
Binoy Kampmark
Sinister Flatulence: Trump Versus Twitter
John Stanton
How Much Violence and Destruction is Enough for Depraved American Leaders and Their Subjects?
Richard C. Gross
The Enemy Within
Thomas Knapp
Trump’s “Free Speech:” Doctrine: Never, Ever, Ever Mention He’s a Liar
John W. Whitehead
This Is Not a Revolution. It’s a Blueprint for Locking Down the Nation
June 01, 2020
Joshua Frank
It’s a Class War Now Too
Richard D. Wolff
Why the Neoliberal Agenda is a Failure at Fighting Coronavirus
Henry Giroux
Racial Domestic Terrorism and the Legacy of State Violence
Ron Jacobs
The Second Longest War in the United States
Kanishka Chowdhury
The Return of the “Outside Agitator”
Lee Hall
“You Loot; We Shoot”
Dave Lindorff
Eruptions of Rage
Jake Johnston
An Impending Crisis: COVID-19 in Haiti, Ongoing Instability, and the Dangers of Continued U.S. Deportations
Nick Pemberton
What is Capitalism?
Linda G. Ford
“Do Not Resuscitate”: My Experience with Hospice, Inc.
Medea Benjamin - Nicolas J. S. Davies
Who Are the Secret Puppet-Masters Behind Trump’s War on Iran?
Manuel García, Jr.
A Simple Model for Global Warming
Howard Lisnoff
Is the Pandemic Creating a Resurgence of Unionism? 
Frances Madeson
Federal Prisons Should Not be Death Chambers
Hayley Brown – Dean Baker
The Impact of Upward Redistribution on Social Security Solvency
Raúl Carrillo
We Need a Public Option for Banking
Kathy Kelly
Our Disaster: Why the United States Bears Responsibility for Yemen’s Humanitarian Crisis
Sonali Kolhatkar
An Open Letter to Joe Biden on Race
Scott Owen
On Sheep, Shepherds, Wolves and Other Political Creatures
John Kendall Hawkins
All Night Jazz All The Time
Weekend Edition
May 29, 2020
Friday - Sunday
Tim Wise
Protest, Uprisings, and Race War
Nick Pemberton
White Supremacy is the Virus; Police are the Vector
T.J. Coles
What’s NATO Up to These Days? Provoking Russia, Draining Healthcare Budgets and Protecting Its Own from COVID
Benjamin Dangl
Bibles at the Barricades: How the Right Seized Power in Bolivia
Kevin Alexander Gray - Jeffrey St. Clair - JoAnn Wypijewski
There is No Peace: an Incitement to Justice
Jeffrey St. Clair
A Few Good Sadists
Jeff Mackler
The Plague of Racist Cop Murders: Ahmaud Arbery, George Floyd and the COVID-19 Pandemic
Joshua Frank
In Search of a Lost Socialism
FacebookTwitterRedditEmail