According to Will Allen’s The Good Food Revolution:
The history of agriculture in the United States is largely a history of racial exploitation. From the slavery that formed the rural economy of the South to the mistreatment of migrant farm workers that continues to this day, our food has too often been made possible by someone else’s suffering. And that someone else tends not to be white….
The great tragedy for many African Americans…is that in losing touch with the land and with traditions handed down for generations, they also lost an important set of skills: how to grow and prepare healthy food….
It’s no coincidence that the epidemic of diet-related illnesses now sweeping the country—obesity, diabetes, high blood pressure, heart disease, strokes—are harming blacks the most….
America’s current agricultural system was hardly created by free market forces. Between 1995 and 2010, American farmers received about $262 billion in federal subsidies. And the wealthiest 10 percent of farmers received 74 percent of those subsidies. Almost two-thirds of American farmers didn’t receive any subsidies at all….
One in two African Americans born in the year 2000 is expected to develop type II diabetes. Four out of every ten African American men and women over the age of twenty have high blood pressure….
The farmer became less important than the food scientist, the distributor, the marketer, and the corporation. In 1974, farmers took home 32 cents of every dollar spent on food in the United States. Today, they get only 16 cents.
According to Dickson Despommier’s The Vertical Farm:
Vertical farming promises to eliminate external natural forces as confounding elements in the production of food. Much of what we plant never gets a chance to grow to maturity due to adverse weather events driven by rapid climate changes that are, in turn, linked to an ever-increasing rate of CO2 emissions. Today, the United States Department of Agricultural (USDA) estimated that over 50 percent of all crops planted in the United States never reach the plate of the consumer. Droughts, floods, spoilage, and plant disease account for most of the losses….
Some 70 percent of all available freshwater on earth is used for irrigation, and the resulting unused portion is returned to countless rivers and streams….
Agriculture runoff is responsible for more ecosystem disruption than any other single kind of pollution. Most of the world’s estuaries have been so adversely affected by runoff that they no longer function as nurseries for the ocean’s marine fish, crustacea, and mollusks. That is why the United States must import more than 80 percent of its seafood from abroad….
The Department of Energy secretary, Nobel Prize winner Steven Chu, flatly stated three weeks after he took office in 2009 that the entire agricultural sector of California would become obsolete in less than fifty years due to lack of a source of noncontaminated fresh water: “I don’t think the American public has gripped in its gut what could happen. We’re looking at a scenario where there’s no more agriculture in California…..”
According to Wire magazine:
Jeffrey Kightlinger, the general manager of the Metropolitan Water District of Southern California…says that his SoCal district, which serves 19 million people (that’s one out of every two Californians), has stored water reserves that will last three years with prudent conservation.
Urban areas get only 20 percent of the state’s water supplies; agriculture guzzles the other 80 percent. Last year, lack of water forced farmers to abandon 400,000 acres of cropland, and they’ll leave over a million acres unplanted this year. Some farmers in California have already had their water supply curtailed or completely cut off. If you like vegetables and fruit, this is a big deal. In 2013 the state exported $21 billion worth of agriculture. It produces nearly half the produce and nuts consumed in the US.