Farming plays key role in UN climate push on land restoration

When the UN Climate Summit gets underway next week, it will be the focal point of mass protests and media coverage, but another global climate initiative is revving up that focuses on large-scale land restoration as a way to counter the advent and impact of climate change.(No paywall)

As dairy industry reels, new film details one family’s struggle to make it work

“Farmsteaders” is a new documentary that tells the story of Celeste and Nick Nolan and their four young children, who run Laurel Valley Creamery in southeastern Ohio. The 110-acre dairy farm belonged to Nick’s grandfather, who died in an accident on the farm in 1994. In the years since, agriculture has continued to move away from small operations like the Nolans’ to the sprawling industrial farms that dominate today. The dairy industry, in particular, has been decimated by consolidation, resulting in the collapse of family farms and a spate of suicides as farmers become increasingly desperate. In 2001, Celeste and Nick moved to the farm to raise their kids. They hobby-farmed for a few years, but when Nick lost his job they began farming full-time, turning to cheesemaking to sustain the operation.(No paywall)

Eating tomorrow: A conversation with Timothy Wise

Timothy A. Wise spent four years researching the industrialization of agriculture and the influence of agribusiness on policy creation around the world. Everywhere he traveled, he saw how governments and philanthropies have committed to a vision of hunger eradication that heralds industrial, large-scale agriculture. His new book, Eating Tomorrow: Agribusiness, Family Farmers, and the Battle for the Future of Food, details how this vision has largely failed to bring countries closer to food security even as it has imperiled our water, soil, and farming communities.(No paywall)

Rep. Pingree highlights role of farmers in fighting climate change

Maine Democrat Rep. Chellie Pingree rolled out a five-point plan to “support farmers in the fight against climate change,” offering a contrast to the Green New Deal announced earlier this year, which largely sidestepped agricultural issues and came under criticism for not engaging with farmers.(No paywall)

Data consolidation threatens sustainable agriculture, says international panel

If you care about reducing pesticide use, promoting agricultural biodiversity, and supporting small farmers, then you should also care about who’s amassing agricultural data. That’s the message of a new report from a group of sustainable food policy experts. (No paywall)

In Democrats’ Green New Deal, a nod to sustainable agriculture

Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and Sen. Ed Markey on Thursday introduced a Green New Deal, offering a sweeping framework for eliminating U.S. carbon emissions to combat global warming and supporting sustainable farming practices along the way. The nod to agriculture was appreciated by some …

Diversity is destiny for agriculture’s leaders, says Merrigan

In a speech on the future of agriculture, a former USDA official forecast a fundamental shift in the demographic makeup of the food and ag sector.

Permanent fix needed for SNAP purchases at farmers markets

Far more than farmer revenue is at stake in the threatened loss of SNAP sales at 40 percent of U.S. farmers markets, said the National Sustainable Agriculture Coalition on Monday. "We believe that farmers’ ability to serve low-income families is not just important for their bottom line but also critical to genuinely healthy food systems," said the grassroots alliance in calling for a long-term solution that assures food stamp recipients can use their EBT cards to buy fresh foods at farmers markets.

Puerto Rico’s agro-ecology brigades are a model of resiliency in a changing climate

After losing 80 percent of its crop value to Hurricane Maria, Puerto Rico's farmer brigades are not only helping their neighbors rebuild, but steering the island toward agro-ecology as a sustainable way to farm in the face of a changing climate, reports Audrea Lim in FERN's latest piece, published with The Nation. No paywall

Signup starts today for high-priority land-stewardship projects

The USDA says there is now enough room in the Conservation Reserve that, for the first time in months, it will accept applications for high-priority stewardship projects, such as filter strips, that prevent erosion and maintain water quality on fragile land. Enrollment runs from today through Aug. 17 for the practices, which require comparatively small amounts of land.