What Do Food Systems Have to Do With The Ithaca Green New Deal?
We eat food nearly every day of our lives, but we rarely think about where it comes from. Has it ever seemed strange to you that you can buy bananas (which can only be grown in the tropics) in the dead of Winter here in upstate New York? This is because of a massive system of integrated parts which none of us will even notice unless something goes awry. From the hands that grow and pick the fruit to the trucks and boats that ship it across the planet to the cash registers of the marketplace where you buy it, the systems which enable you to buy a banana for your morning smoothie are truly all-encompassing. Unfortunately, those systems also play a large role in climate change and human rights abuses. As Tompkins County is about 1/3 agriculture by land area, it is vital that we address food systems that are sustainable and equitable.
The supply chain of food production is a long one. At each point in this chain, there are inefficiencies which are detrimental to our planet. Chemical fertilizers poisoning our water and land, monocropping increasing the danger of drought and blight, and food waste comprising 30-40% of our food supply all pose a serious danger to the environment and our ability to feed everyone.
Beyond the environmental aspect of our food systems is the human element. All the folks who play a part in getting food to your plate can’t be forgotten as we move to a carbon-neutral world, and so it is vital that we support them along the way.