Down to Earth

Sarah Carden is a policy advocate with Farm Action, a group working to democratize the food system in the U.S. She’s also a vegetable farmer, who knows first hand what the barriers are for small and mid-size growers who are forced to compete against giant corporations, whose mission is profit, not healthy food. She talks about the movement for a more fair and regenerative Farm Bill in 2023––and beyond.

Farm photo by Daniel Lloyd Blunk-Fernández on Unsplash

2’47 systemic problems for farmers: access to farmland and growing the business to support a family beyond the direct sales model
5’12 food distribution is big-ag centered
5’55 crop insurance not available for diverse crop programs
8’00 non-resilience in the food system
9’18 big meat companies creating fake meat shortage–resulting in the death of many workers
10’27 corporate control of our food system is a national security risk
11’28 farmers don’t benefit from the increase in food prices
11’46 we need to transition from a focus on monocropped animal feed for meat that is exported.
12’26 USDA recommends that we eat 50% fruits and vegetables but doesn’t support them
13’36 if you want to grow healthy produce you don’t have the support
14’44 support for transition to healthy food farming
16’26 building a regional food system
17’33 the importance of anti-trust laws
19’19 corporations exist to bring in profits, not to produce food
20’08 the difference between competitive capitalism and monopoly capitalism
20’20 we don’t benefit from large scale players’ “efficiency”
21’02 building ecological resiliency
21’40 the vicious cycle of chemical agriculture
22’40 the idea of tying USDA payments to regenerative practices
24’52 working toward a more regenerative, fair, and just farm bill
26’49 accurate labeling
27’50 EQIP
28’31 biodigesters
29’06 Biden administration support
30’04 looking two farm bills ahead
31’26 what would a regenerative land-use agriculture country look like
34’53 decentralizing the food system makes us more resilent