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All members of the panel emphasized the need to work with farming communities in order to make agriculture more sustainable, from kitchen gardens in rural India to industrial-scale oat cultivators in Sweden.
Why this Matters: The food sector is responsible for one-third of global emissions, and requires about half of the habitable land on the planet and much of its fresh water. In 2018, agriculture and forestry together were estimated to account for 10.5% of US greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions, including carbon dioxide emissions associated with agricultural electricity consumption. That same year, US agriculture emitted an estimated 698 million metric tons of GHGs. To reduce the food sector’s impact on climate change, it needs to rethink how it farms and produces food at all steps in the supply chain.
Hungry for Solutions
The panelists detailed many avenues to make agriculture more sustainable on both an industrial and local level. Executive Vice President and Chief Sustainability Officer Jim Andrew of PepsiCo discussed “PepsiCo Positive,” a program that works with water and food security and changing their business model to reflect more sustainable practices. He highlighted the effectiveness of planting cover crops which store carbon, prevent weeds and pests, increase water availability, and improve biodiversity in fields.
Panelists also pointed to the need to work with communities and farmers directly. Former Head of Forest Force in the Indian State of Chhattisgarh, Mudit Kumar Singh, discussed the Narwa Garwa Ghurwa Badi program, which helps those living in rural areas — 70% of the population — to change their agricultural practices by creating kitchen gardens and building community cow sheds, for example. Also, Climate Director of WRI Brazil Carolina Genin and Governor-Prefect of Pastaza, Ecuador Jaime Guevara spoke on the need to reframe farming practices to save the Amazon rainforest.
The notion of reframing practices was echoed by Precious Phiri, African Coordinator for Regeneration International, but in regard to smallholder farmers, who produce 80% of Africa’s food. Phiri stated the need to view agriculture from a place of abundance rather than scarcity, and that it can be beneficial to the environment rather than extractive. “Everyone has something to offer,” she said.
By Ashira Morris, ODP Staff Writer If climate change keeps temperatures rising, staple crops in eight East and Southern African countries could decrease by up to 80% by midcentury. According to a new report by the UN’s International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD), a 2-degree Celsius increase in temperature (which the world is currently on […]
By Ashira Morris, ODP Staff Writer In the lead-up to today’s United Nations Food Systems Summit, young activists spoke about their priorities for the global gathering at yesterday’s Food is the Future event. At the event, youth representatives from worldwide interviewed adult peers in the world of food system work. In an effort to […]
By Ashira Morris, ODP Staff Writer Investing in small-scale local farm activities can take on rural poverty, sustainability, and nutrition challenges according to a report released today by the UN’s International Fund for Agricultural Development. The report, Transforming Food Systems for Rural Prosperity, recommends supporting all elements of food production, not just growing crops. Expanding […]
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