Can You Eat Your Way to Carbon Neutrality?

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If you know me, you know I love food, so when I had the chance to write a term paper recommending actions which would counteract the climate changing effects of greenhouse gases it was an easy choice.  Many of you (Are there many of you?) are probably rolling your eyes now.  I know, I know, it’s an energy thing, right?  Fair enough, but an awful lot of energy goes into the production and transportation of food, so maybe the idea isn’t so far-fetched.

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Drop the Chalupa

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Sen. Lincoln’s Farm “Aid” Plan Falls Flat | Sustainable Food |

The link above got me thinking about the troubled state of farming in the U.S.  While my knowledge of U.S. farming is admittedly cursory, I’m pretty certain the systems in place are overwhelmingly screwed up as they reward one thing alone, size.  Subsidies guarantee that the larger a farm becomes, the greater its rewards.  This distorts production by removing market demand from the picture.  Rather than creating positive incentives (hard work) for farmers to produce a variety of nutritious foods, we give them perverse incentives (easy work) to produce a handful of crops which deliver questionable benefits.  Industrial farms chase these incentives which align with corporate America’s short-term profit agenda.  This big bank take little bank approach has led us to a point where a few companies control much of our food system.  We’ve literally put all of our eggs in just a few baskets, which puts them all at greater risk of spreading toxins and disease. (I’ll tackle this part of our food chain at length in a future post.)  Producing these highly subsidized food products creates incentives for those with limited budgets to consume these foods.  Subsidizing these crops makes them more affordable for consumers which creates a downstream “tax” as they are typically unhealthy.   Continue reading