Today, Coming Clean hosted a lobby day for members to meet with Congressional leaders to urge them to prioritize community food sovereignty and farmworker protections in the upcoming farm bill reauthorization, while incentivizing reductions in pesticide use. Members from across the country, including small farmers and farmworkers, scheduled visits throughout the day with lawmakers from their districts to highlight reforms that are most important to them and their communities.
Over 55 organizations have now signed onto a letter outlining the Coming Clean network’s priorities for the 2023 Farm Bill and identifying false climate solutions to be avoided in future legislation. Their priorities include:
“Chemical-dependent agriculture is one of the biggest drivers of the climate crisis and is a toxic threat to the communities throughout the pipeline of agrochemical production -- from the extraction of petroleum to the hazardous production, use and storage of pesticides in communities. It doesn't have to be this way,” said Jim Irby, Network Manager of Coming Clean. “Both environmental justice and the climate crisis demand a holistic shift in our food system towards socially, economically, and environmentally regenerative agriculture, grounded in community food sovereignty and local economic empowerment.”
"Farmworker women have for too long suffered the worst of our food system, including systemic racism and sexism, gender-based violence, harmful pesticide and heat exposure, and poverty level wages." said Amy Tamayo, Policy and Advocacy Coordinator for Alianza Nacional de Campesinas. "Alianza Nacional de Campesinas sees the Farm Bill as an opportunity to address some of the gaps in farmworker protections, decrease the growing food insecurity in our communities, and to advocate for necessary resources for beginning farmers and campesinas to access land."
"Every five years Congress has the opportunity to improve our food chain system with the passage of the Farm Bill. But for decades the massive legislation has favored large operations. The Justice for Black Farmers Act provides long-overdue measures to support Black farmers and other socially disadvantaged producers who have faced discrimination,” said Antonio Tovar, Senior Policy Associate at National Family Farm Coalition. “The bill establishes a program of land grants, along with training programs and apprenticeships. The bill also makes structural reforms within USDA, expands funding to a variety of agricultural programs, and protects contract livestock farmers from abuse by meatpacking companies."
"We know that small-scale farmers cool the planet," said Anthony Pahnke, Vice President of the Family Farm Defenders. "For this reason, we need to make sure our legislators craft a Farm Bill with adequate pricing provisions and that checks corporate power. Lawmakers need to seriously consider parity pricing policies, so that farmers do not feel pressure to overproduce and use chemicals to increase their yields. Antitrust reform should also be part of the Farm Bill, which it was back in 2008. We need competitive, not concentrated markets."
“The next Farm Bill should support communities, workers, and climate – not the factory farm system that harms them. Our government should not use taxpayer money to prop up industrial animal agriculture and factory farm gas, or so-called biogas,” said Public Justice Food Project Attorney Surbhi Sarang. “Factory farm gas is a dirty, dead end that pays polluters to keep polluting our land, water, and climate at the expense of the workers who work at factory farms and the rural and often BIPOC communities who live near them.”
"There would be no agriculture in this country without the labor of agricultural workers,” said Jeannie Economos, Pesticide Safety and Environmental Health Project Coordinator at Farmworker Association of Florida. “The Farm Bill must recognize and include provisions that address the issues facing the nation's agricultural workforce, including ensuring that those who harvest our food are able to afford and have access to fresh, healthy and sufficient food for themselves and their families, while also not risking their health from exposures to toxic agrochemicals. Historic injustices, including usurpation of land, must be addressed through Farm Bill programs facilitating land access for farmworkers in rural, agricultural communities."
Deidre Nelms; Coming Clean; (802) 251-0203 ext. 711, firstname.lastname@example.org.