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  • Agricultural workers pick stawberries.
    Program

    Sustainable Food & Farming

    Chris Jordan-Bloch / Earthjustice
  • Farmers Market in Oakland, California.
    Program

    Sustainable Food & Farming

    Chris Jordan-Bloch / Earthjustice
  • A cow and calf.
    Program

    Sustainable Food & Farming

    Sanjeri / Getty Images
  • An evening meal.
    Program

    Sustainable Food & Farming

    Aleksandar Nakic / Getty Images

The Goal:

Improve our nation’s food system, from crop selection and farming practices to food processing and accessibility. We already know how to produce food that nourishes people without abusing workers, animals, or the environment—our country’s policies should support sustainable farming.

The Stakes:

The current food and agriculture system damages the environment and threatens human health.

Industrial agriculture—vast monoculture fields, concentrated animal factories, and over-grazed public lands—heavily pollutes our air and water. As a whole, the food system is responsible for a quarter of U.S. greenhouse gas emissions. Perceived conflicts between livestock and some of our country’s most iconic species, including bears, buffalo, and wolves, motivate fierce efforts to eliminate wildlife protections. Dangerous pesticides put farmworkers and their families, as well as consumers, at risk.

Off the farm, outdated government policies, overprocessed foods with added chemicals, and the relative inaccessibility of nutritious food force many people to adopt poor diets, leading to cancers and other chronic diseases that disproportionately harm low-income communities and people of color. Billions of dollars are spent annually to subsidize crops used for wasteful animal feed, climate-harming biofuel, and unhealthy food and drinks. Almost forty percent of the food we grow is discarded. Many of this country’s lowest paid and most dangerous jobs are in the food system.

Our Strategy & Impact:

Earthjustice has shown that focused and persistent legal advocacy can clean up industries. Now we are applying our experience and knowledge to reform Big Food. Working in partnership with activists, communities, progressive farmers and ranchers, scientists and others, we can—and will—compel change. The good news is that many farmers have demonstrated how to be sustainable and profitable using natural systems, such as crop rotations, cover crops, integrated animal-crop approaches, careful pest management, or adding trees or steam buffers to crop land. Our job is to support and accelerate these approaches, while fighting polluting or harmful practices.

Healthy and Safe Food. Manufacturers often add unhealthy chemicals to food and package the food in material that can be toxic.

Climate-friendly Farming. Like all industries, agriculture contributes to climate change. Fertilizer can emit nitrous oxide (a potent greenhouse gas and ozone depleter), livestock produce methane (a potent greenhouse gas), industrial farming techniques release carbon stored in the soil, and food processing is energy-intensive. Fortunately, there are many farmers using agro-ecological practices that are productive, economical, and sustainable—these are our models.

Safer Farming. Working with workers, communities, forward-thinking farmers, scientists and others, we aim to create incentives for the use of natural systems that reduce the need for added fertilizers and pesticides and level the playing field for cleaner farming.

Animal Farms, not Animal Factories. Industrial animal facilities, better known as factory farms, emit enormous amounts of pollution.

Map of Earthjustice offices.

Contact Sustainable Food & Farming Program

48 Wall Street, 19th Fl.
New York, NY 10005
(212) 845-7376
neoffice@earthjustice.org

Key Staff

Lisa Garcia VP of Litigation for Healthy Communities

Peter Lehner Senior Strategic Advisor

Alexis Andiman Associate Attorney

Tyler Smith Staff Scientist

Current Openings

Staff Attorney

Science Extern, Fall 2017

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