This past June, the Institute for Agriculture and Trade Policy and the Jefferson Center co-hosted the first Rural Climate Dialogue in Morris, Minnesota. The Rural Climate Dialogues are part of an effort to spur rural leadership and build resiliency in the face of extreme weather conditions and a changing climate. The dialogue gathered 15 Morris residents for an intense three-day deliberative forum to discuss risks posed by climate change and develop a shared, community-based response to changing weather patterns and extreme weather events.
The die-off of bees and other pollinators poses an enormous threat to our food and agriculture system and environment. A growing body of scientific evidence points to neonicotinoids (neonics), a class of systemic pesticides, as a primary cause of the massive decline of bees. Last year the EU imposed a moratorium on certain neonics, and a broader review of harmful pesticides is underway. Environmental and agriculture organizations are pushing for a ban in the U.S. at both the state and federal levels, and several cities have already banned neonics.
Antimicrobial Resistance (AMR) is one of the greatest threats to public health. Margeret Chan, Director-General of the World Health Organization has warned, “A post-antibiotic era means, in effect, an end to modern medicine as we know it. Things as common as strep throat or a child’s scratched knee could once again kill.”
On June 16, USDA Secretary Tom Vilsack cautioned European Union members against raising health or safety risks when banning the cultivation of genetically modified organisms (GMOs). The debate over GMOs is intensifying as agribusiness on both sides of the Atlantic attempt to weaken standards on genetically modified organisms and their labeling through a new trade agreement.
One of the flashpoints in the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) talks is the pressure to bring EU standards to U.S. levels in ways that expand the use of industrial agriculture despite the risks to human and animal health and worker safety. A range of issues are on the table including the EU's refusal to allow imports of chicken rinsed in chlorine and other harsh chemicals and the use of Ractopamine in pork production. Please join us for a webinar to learn about the trade, food safety and labor rights issues involved in this debate.
China's meat revolution has entailed a massive increase in the concentrations of pigs, cows, poultry on "specialized" farms with intense price competition amongst retailers and processors that provide "cheap" and abundant meat to an urban population. Subsequent food safety problems are resulting in further government incentives for industrialization of the supply chain, with the U.S. meat industry as the model. Can Chinese public opinion change this direction and what lessons can be learned from the U.S. experience?
China is the world's largest producer and consumer of pork, the second largest producer of poultry and the fourth largest dairy producer. How and why has China achieved this "meat miracle"? What are the politics of this growth and the role of Chinese and foreign transnationals? Can China continue producing and consuming more or are there social and ecological limits that create "peak meat"?
Industrial meat production is showing serious signs of stress around the world. Bird flu cases are surging in China's poultry. Porcine Epidemic Diarrhea Virus (PEDv) is spreading in the U.S. At the same time the meat industry grows more and more concentrated. China's meat and dairy sectors have undergone a massive transformation in the last thirty years from backyard farming toward a highly destructive model of industrial meat production. This transition towards "scale, standardization and consolidation" continues to unfold.
On the occasion the third round of negotiations for the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP), the Heinrich Boell Foundation and the Institute for Agriculture and Trade Policy (IATP) invite you to join us for a webinar on the agreement's potential impacts on agriculture in the U.S. and EU. The negotiations lack transparency, but all indications are that the TTIP agreement could result in lower standards on food safety and food additives and rules that would undermine flourishing local foods programs in the U.S. and EU.