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On the Environment

Wednesday, October 10, 2012
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No Farms No Food?

By Josh Galperin, Associate Director

Most have likely seen the green and white bumpersticker declaring “No Farms No Food”.  Without reservation I support the message of American Farmland Trust, the group that created and distributes this sticker. In the words of American Farmland Trust:

“The message is simple and couldn't be more clear—America's farms and ranches provide an unparalleled abundance of fresh, healthy and local food, but they are rapidly disappearing.

Ninety-one percent of America’s fruit and seventy-eight percent of our vegetables are grown near metro regions, where they are in the path of development. And America has been losing more than an acre of farmland every minute. That's why supporting local food and farms is more important than ever!”

Recently, however, I was walking to work when I passed a truck that donned the green and white sticker as well as the familiar red and black bumper sticker showing support for the National Rifle Association. Seeing these two stickers side by side, it occurred to me that the message “no farms no food” simply isn’t true. Take a quick trip to NRA.org and you will see that hunting is a pillar of their mission.

There is, in fact, food without farms and it comes from, among other places, hunting wild animals, or harvesting wild plants.

Research suggests that human agriculture arose around nine thousand years ago. For the sake of argument, let’s round that to ten or even 20 thousand years ago. Homo sapiens have been on earth for somewhere around 200,000 years. That means that for over 180,000 years there were no farms, but there was food.

It would take too long to list all the incredible benefits of agriculture; suffice it to say that agriculture is more than just a critical part of human life today.  The American Farmland Trust and likeminded organizations similarly play a critical role in reminding us that our food does come from somewhere— typically a farm—and awareness about the origins of our food is important to protecting the source. By and large that source is farms, but it is worth remembering that there is more to our food system than farms alone. To sustain our broader environment and our complete food system we need to remember the boar, bass and berries that can also nourish us. 

Posted in: Environmental Attitudes & Behavior

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