HEAL Platform for Real Food

In today’s agricultural system, grass-based livestock operations are giving way to confinements, while small and midsize diversified crop operations are losing ground to monocropped mega-farms. A similar phenomenon is happening on the oceans, with independent boats being replaced by industrial trawlers. We must stop this life destroying, dangerous trend. We need the dominant food production practices to be of net benefit to the environment – to increase topsoil and protect estuaries, store more carbon, and enhance biodiversity.

To accomplish this, the policy infrastructure that supports food production, from research to technical assistance to insurance and credit, must primarily encourage the integration of the best of cutting edge agroecological science with the best of time-honored indigenous wisdom and agricultural and fishing traditions. Supporting this shift both domestically and internationally is necessary for the world to feed itself. Policymakers must recognize the impacts of other industrial activities, like deforestation, mining, and fracking, on fish populations and ecosystem management. The protection and development of sustainable farming, ranching, and fishing systems will support ecological and public health, with safer environments for farmers and workers, and more diverse, nutrient-rich diets for everyone.

Our Solutions

  • Restore classical and farmer participatory plant and animal breeding communities of practice with breeding objectives designed for sustainable systems
  • Strengthen and then expand USDA conservation programs
  • Strengthen the regulation and prevention of agriculture-related environmental degradation from pesticides, runoff, and carbon emissions Reform the federal crop insurance program to reward stewardship practices; and make real, measurable conservation a condition of eligibility for premium subsidies
  • Increase incentives for transitioning to organic
  • Revise USDA and NOAA research priorities to align with sustainability and climate change resiliency
  • Increase overall funding for agroecological research and extension, especially through on-farm, producer-led research, and in land-grant universities
  • Revise national fish management programs such as the Catch Share program that consolidate fishery ownership and produce negative ecological impacts