Today is Food Day!
To celebrate, I’m sharing a list of my “Top 10” favorite facts from recent UCS reports, including our brand new report, The Healthy Farmland Diet. The Healthy Farmland Diet is the first economic analysis of its kind to show how increasing consumption of fruits and vegetables would not only be healthier for our bodies, but also healthier for the environment and local economies. This report also demonstrates how modest government investments can remove obstacles standing in the way for consumers and farmers to reach this goal. So tell me: what’s your favorite science-based food fact? Use the links below to share it on Twitter to show your support of a healthier food and farm system! You can also share all 10 facts on Facebook or by forwarding this email.
Top 10 Food Facts
Share your favorite science-based fact to show your support for a healthier food and farm system in honor of Food Day!
1. Healthy farms=win-win-win for health/wellbeing of people, economies & natural resources we all depend onj.mp/1c0h1ib #FoodDay2013
2. Sales of locally grown food now total $5 BILLION/year. j.mp/1eNiV7u #FoodDay2013
3. Modest public investments in ~500 farmers markets/year could create >13K jobs over 5 years. j.mp/1aHULHx#FoodDay2013
5. Shifting policy from supporting junk food to fruits/veg could save $17B in health costs. j.mp/HjDc8I#FoodDay2013
8. If Americans ate fruit/veg according to @myplate, US production of fruit/veg would increase by 88%.j.mp/HdWQDK #FoodDay2013
9. Just 1 more serving of fruits/vegetables could save >30K lives/yr. j.mp/HjDc8I #FoodDay2013
10. Scientists have shown that cover crops can reduce nitrogen groundwater pollution by 40-70% j.mp/1c0h1ib#FoodDay2013 As you can see, we’ve got the facts on our side AND we’re making progress because of it. Just last week, wedelivered a petition from more than 18,000 UCS supporters to House leadership urging them to proceed with the Farm Bill. They listened, and the Farm Bill process is now moving ahead. Moreover, President Obama listed the Farm Bill as one of his three near-term priorities. With all of this, we’ve got a lot to be excited about—and a lot of work to do. Join us, and this Food Day, share your favorite fact now for a healthier food and farm system!
Sincerely, Ashley Elles National Field Organizer Food & Environment Program Union of Concerned Scientists
What does the Farm Bill have to do with you? The answer to that question is simple: a lot. The Union of Concerned Scientists is hosting a webinar to help you learn why, with the inside scoop from our experts.
Toward Healthy Food and Farms: How Science-Based Policies in the 2012 Farm Bill Can Transform Agriculture
Date: Thursday, June 14
Time: 2:00-3:00 p.m. EST (11:00 a.m.-noon PST)
When you’re grocery shopping, do you ever wonder why corn chips and sugary drinks cost less than carrots and squash? In large part, it’s because government policies make the wrong foods cheaper and more abundant. UCS analysis shows that practical changes to agricultural policies can shift priorities to provide greater support to healthier food and farms instead of subsidizing unhealthy, processed foods.
Congress is currently working to finalize the Farm Bill, and while we’ve seen some good changes, they’re not enough. And the chance to change these policies comes just once every five years!
The webinar will cover the latest Farm Bill news from Capitol Hill, followed by an overview of UCS analysis showing that support for local food can benefit the economy and our health. Finally, we’ll share how you can take effective action now to urge Congress to support healthy and sustainable food production in the 2012 Farm Bill.
National Field Organizer
UCS Food & Environment Program
Most gardeners will be planting bulbs for next spring and taking steps to protect perennials from harsh winter weather over the next few weeks. But did you know that actions you take now can also help in the fight against global warming?
The following advice from a gardening expert offers a simple step you can take this fall to be a climate-friendly gardener by increasing your soil’s ability to store carbon—a key component in the leading cause of global warming. After you read the tip, take action to call for the same kind of actions on our nation’s farms.
Tracey Payton, a horticulture educator from Norman, Oklahoma, offers this tip on how to be a climate-friendly gardener.
“Mulch is a great way to protect bare soil, and most importantly for the climate-friendly gardener, it can help prevent carbon loss. Uncovered soil is vulnerable to releasing more carbon than it stores. Mulch also has other benefits, such as protecting against temperature fluctuations that can damage plants, suppressing weeds, and reducing moisture loss and soil erosion. Using mulch can be as easy as an additional 2-3 inch layer of compost or straw in the garden; in the flower bed, cotton seed hulls, bark mulch, or wood mulch can be used. Do only keep mulch about 2-3″ deep and away from perennial plant stems to prevent rot and other moisture problems.”
More information about how healthy soil can lock up carbon may be found in The Climate-Friendly Gardener. This guide also contains more valuable tips and information on how to fight global warming in your own backyard. http://action.ucsusa.org/site/R?i=CbQwBKQYI1GwQMSDdIzNGA
On the Farm…
If gardeners can adopt practices to combat global warming on a small scale, think what could be accomplished if similar steps were taken on the millions of acres of farmland across the country!
Similar to mulching, one of the most effective farm practices to store carbon in the soil on a large scale—while building soil health and preventing erosion—is widespread planting of “cover crops” in the winter. A sort of living mulch, cover crops protect farm fields when other crops aren’t growing. They also have the benefit of releasing nitrogen—one of the main ingredients in fertilizers into the soil just in time for spring-planted crops, which can reduce the need for added fertilizer (another source of global warming emissions).
We can help expand the adoption of this practice by making sure that the next Farm Bill rewards farmers who plant cover crops. Voted on every five years, the Farm Bill helps determines what food farmers will grow and what practices they will employ. This bill includes programs to help farmers successfully adopt a wide array of sustainable agriculture practices, including the planting of cover crops.
Write to your members of Congress and demand farm policies that help farmers protect our water, air, and land while producing the food we need!
Take Action Today! www.ucsusa.org
National Field Organizer
UCS Food & Environment Program