Civil Eats – As both a Congresswoman and owner of Turner Farm, Chellie Pingree (D-ME) understands that the U.S. food system contributes about 25% of greenhouse gases each year, but believes those who produce the food hold the potential to reverse that statistic. But they need incentives and tools from policymakers to do so. In a Civil Eats commentary, Pingree provides five suggestions. In brief:
- Make soil health a top priority. Healthy soil can improve climate resiliency by improving water quality and increasing farm productivity. We need to explore ways to further incentivize farmers to sequester carbon in the soil.
- Protect existing farmland. The U.S. is losing 1.5 million acres of farm and ranchland per year. Converting farmland into other uses increases greenhouse gases.
- Support pasture-based livestock systems. Research into livestock diets can help find innovative ways to reduce their emissions maintaining their positive contributions to pasture-based systems.
- Boost investments in on-farm energy initiatives. Renewable energy systems can provide new revenue streams for farmers, but they need incentives to help to reduce up-front costs.
- Reduce food waste. We have to support food waste reduction throughout the supply chain—from encouraging consumption of imperfect produce to standardizing food date labeling.
For detail on each of the five and Pingree’s full commentary, visit Civil Eats.
Congresswoman Chellie Pingree (D-ME) is a member of the House Appropriations Subcommittee on Agriculture and owns Turner Farm, which grows certified organic vegetables, herbs, and flowers, and produces pasture-raised beef and pork.