In the latest indicator of NRDC’s growing commitment to sustainable food systems, our communications team posted the first ever NRDC food page last week. My favorite addition: “Food and Agriculture” now appears on our drop-down menu of key NRDC “Interest Areas,” making this an official NRDC capacity.
Our supporters will know of course that NRDC has been working on food and agriculture issues for decades. We sounded the alarm on Alar in 1989. We helped pass the Food Quality Protection Act in 1996. We have improved farm bills, safeguarded the Clean Water Act, promoted agricultural water efficiency, protected farmland loss from sprawl, challenged unsafe food contaminants, and partnered with growers and food companies to promote sustainable farming.
But the new web page is a telling indicator of the institution’s increasing interest in food. An unprecedented number of NRDC staff now work on food and agriculture related projects. Twenty of us RSVP’ed for an NRDC staff retreat on food work later this fall. And a growing number of us are appreciating how our work on agricultural water use, toxics, habitat, energy, land conversion are all inter-related aspects of a dysfunctional food system.
The new page came just in time for this year’s 2012 Growing Green Awards, as we celebrated five exceptional sustainable food leaders and entrepreneurs.
If you need a little inspiration, follow the link in the preceding sentence and read about:
- Gabe Brown who converted his chemical-dependent corn-soy farm into an ecologically integrated crop-livestock preserve;
- Greg Asbed and Lucas Benitas who persuaded 10 of the world’s largest food companies to reach down into their supply chains to provide justice in the fields;
- Andrea Northup who won model policies and legislation for farm to school programs before turning 25; and
- George Siemon, one of the great leaders of the organic food movement who build the nation’s largest cooperative of organic farmers.