The USDA released its latest Farmers Market Survey last week, showing 7,175 farmers markets across the country, up 17 percent from last year. This news led USDA Deputy Secretary Kathleen Merrigan to declare:
The growth in farmers markets is a sign that the local and regional food system is robust and thriving. More farmers markets mean more opportunities for small and midsize farmers — especially beginning farmers — to diversify their farms, sell their products, and grow their businesses. More farmers markets mean more local economic stimulation to more communities which, in turn, mean more job opportunities. More farmers markets mean more access to fresh, healthy, and local food.
Read entire article: More farmers markets mean more jobs
This is the way to sustainability. I am a great admirer of Helena Norberg-Hodge, a true leader. This vision of the economics of happiness is taking root all across the world.
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The war against working people should be understood to be a real war…. Specifically in the U.S., which happens to have a highly class-conscious business class…. And they have long seen themselves as fighting a bitter class war, except they don’t want anybody else to know about it.
– Noam Chomsky
There are several very good resources on the status of wealth in America in this post. They are listed further below. My own views on how to change this dynamic are several. Here they are and they are all doable and must be done to save ourselves from plutocracy – corporatism, oligarchy, and privatization. The only other way is to have upheaval and possible revolution like the French revolution when the French people rose up and killed the oligarchs and outlawed corporations; and with good reason – they were predators feeding off the masses. I am afraid we have arrived at such a point.
STOP FEEDING THE PYRAMID!
– Skip over buying at companies like Wal-Mart, Target, Verizon, etc. Stop buying from large corporations as many are involved in tax dodging, overseas hiding of assets, investing in overseas labor, labor lawsuits, and lobbying efforts against the betterment of the everyday American in their quality of life. They are anti-tax, anti-union, anti-environment, anti-regulation, anti-public healthcare, and anti-civil-rights. Verizon is on the list as they helped the Bush administration spy on Americans post-911 and they are against net neutrality.
– Refrain from investing in the stock market where large corporations and banks benefit the greatest from small investors and 401k contributions, thus empowering them even more.
– BUY LOCAL FROM LOCAL COMPANIES TO KEEP THE MAJORITY OF WEALTH IN THE LOCAL ECONOMY. The goal is to strengthen LOCALIZATION currently running in parallel to Globalization; LOCALIZATION must become the locus of our labor efforts AND spending habits. It is the key to shifting wealth back to the majority of everyday Americans because we all live locally.
These three things could turn the tide in wealth distribution. When we spend money locally at locally owned small businesses (a small business in America is deemed by the SBA as making $25 million a year or less), that money will stay largely in the local economy. We are shifting where we spend our money and that will make all the difference in the world – literally.
– 15 Mindblowing Facts About Wealth and Inequality in America — see these charts
– The Richest 1% Have Captured America’s Wealth — What’s It Going to Take to Get It Back? click here to read
Excerpt: just look at the first full year of the crisis when workers lost an average of 25 percent off their 401k. During the same time period, the wealth of the 400 richest Americans increased by $30 billion, bringing their total combined wealth to $1.57 trillion, which is more than the combined net worth of 50% of the US population. Just to make this point clear, 400 people have more wealth than 155 million people combined.
Meanwhile, 2009 was a record-breaking year for Wall Street bonuses, as firms issued $150 billion to their executives. 100% of these bonuses are a direct result of our tax dollars, so if we used this money to create jobs, instead of giving them to a handful of top executives, we could have paid an annual salary of $30,000 to 5 million people.
– Why Obama’s Economic Plan Will Not Work—And a Better Plan – click here
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ISEC is a non-profit organization dedicated to the revitalization of cultural and biological diversity, and the strengthening of local communities and economies worldwide. Our emphasis is on education for action: moving beyond single issues to look at the more fundamental influences that shape our lives. You can visit her site by clicking here.
Helena believes that those running the global economy are imposing structural violence in our world. “The message of the Grandmothers, the message from indigenous cultures and peoples around the world has been managed, marginalized, brainwashed, and corporatized in a way that makes it very very difficult to get [the Grandmothers] message out,” she said.
Helena is fighting to rebuild the strength of Ladhka’s local culture and economy. She is also battling the effects of this worldwide global economy. For 25 years, she and John live 6 months out of the year in Ladakh. Helena’s book, Ancient Futures: Learning From Ladakh, has been translated into 42 languages and made into a film. Helena also founded the International Society for Ecology and Culture and is on the editorial board of ‘Ecologist” magazine. She also co-founded the International Forum on Globalization and the Global Eco-Village Network. For her efforts, Helena received an Alternate Nobel Prize.
Economics of Happiness
ISEC’s new documentary has been featured here and we have seen great interest in this film. Here is the link to their site to purchase the film.
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More reasons to embrace Plan ‘B’. Don’t know what that is? Stock your pantry, become more self-reliant, invest in a rainwater barrel or two, plant a garden, get a bycycle or hybrid vehicle.
Today’s NY Times reports: Food Prices Hit Record High, Spurring Worries About Global Unrest. FAO officials say the world can expect further price rises if oil prices continue climbing.
“Unexpected oil price spikes could further exacerbate an already precarious situation in food markets,” FAO’s director of trade and markets, David Hallam, said in his agency’s report. “This adds even more uncertainty concerning the price outlook just as plantings for crops in some of the major growing regions are about to start.”
Feeding the Beast
As we have seen in the Middle East, people living on $2 a day simply cannot endure the current food price increases. With the Libyan oil crisis escalating oil production has now shutdown and global oil prices are shooting up. This will further destabilize economies all over the world, including our own.
It is a circular situation: Poverty in many nations is perpetuated by corrupt oppressive governments; ADD the global financial collapse AND consequential destabilized economies AND bad weather AND food prices have increased WHICH has led to social upheaval WHICH has led to a spike in oil prices WHICH will lead to higher prices WHICH will lead to more unrest….. ad infinitum. And that’s just in the Middle East. Once Europe starts to falter, all bets are off. World crisis will ensue. History shows Europe has engaged in wars every century for over two thousand years. They are on the brink and what happened in the last two wars affected the United States in a big way – world war.
In today’s Guardian UK, Jonathan Watts reports in Middle East unrest adds to pressure on world food prices:
Two links are apparent. First, modern agriculture is massively dependent on fossil fuels, which are used for farm machinery, fertiliser production and crop transportation. Secondly, the rise of biofuels means that many food crops are in direct competition for land with ethanol plantations.
The relationship is not necessarily one-way, particularly when other climate factors are at play. The recent surge in wheat, corn and soy prices – which prompted UN warnings of approaching danger levels – was also due to last year’s dry spell in Russia and floods in Australia. The most recent increase was attributed to a drought in China that threatens the winter wheat crop.
But whether it is climate change or social protest that shakes the commodity markets, the jolts appear to affect the values of both kilowatts and calories – albeit sometimes with a slight lag. Different forms of energy consumption are converging – as well as growing – thanks to a rising global population and the increasing affluence of emerging economies like China and India.
That should prove food for thought as we watch the compelling spectacle of change in the Middle East. Egypt nudged prices upwards (due more to the importance of the Suez canal to tanker traffic than its own oil output). Libya, the world’s 12th biggest oil exporter at 1.1m barrels per day, adds momentum.
Experts at the U.N. Food and Agriculture Organization estimate global agricultural productivity must double by 2050 to keep pace with increased demand. Unless we take immediate action, we are destined to race from food crisis to food crisis for generations to come, with grim consequences for the world’s poor and our own national security.
– Center for American Progress
At the country level, most of us are completely invested in this global food system, which is built on some very, very rickety pillars. I think, however, there’s a lot of interesting stuff that goes on more on the municipal level – with farmer’s markets, community-supported agriculture, with food policy councils, which are springing up all over cities and towns in Canada and in the U.S.
And these are really talking about trying to shorten supply chains, create a level of food sovereignty at a local level, invest in things like soup kitchens and community kitchens, which act as an insurance policy against food shocks for economically poor people. So I think the most innovative stuff is actually happening at a small scale across North America.
And there’s very little attention to this issue being placed at a national or international scale.
In a time when “super-sized” and “combo specials” are the way to order, it seems America will never face a food shortage. But a new book, Empires of Food: Feast, Famine, and the Rise and Fall of Civilizations, takes a hard look at how American habits — in farming, eating and treating the environment — could lead to a food famine. Host Guy Raz talks with co- author Evan Fraser about how food empires fail and if America is next.