RATIONALE FOR CONGRESS
Industrial Agriculture is a major contributor to global warming and one of its major victims. Agriculture also can be the KEY to reversing the ravages of global warming on the world's food supply and climate emergency. There is a growing consensus globally that by implementing Regenerative Organic Agricultural practices and Reducing Food Waste we can substantially reduce the carbon footprint imposed by agriculture. AND, at the same time, draw down large amounts of the carbon in CO2 from the atmosphere into the soil. This double punch, if put into practice globally, promises to immediately and substantially mitigate the disastrous impact of climate change.
Our agricultural practices profoundly affect the climate emergency that we are facing.The European Union's Scientific Advice Mechanism estimated that the present industrial food system as a whole contributes 37% of total greenhouse gas emissions. When CO2 emissions are included from the manufacture of pesticides and fertilizers, greenhouse gas emissions run over 50%. This figure is on course to increase by 30–40% by 2050 due to population growth and a dietary change to more animal based protein.
Regenerative Organic Agriculture (Agroecology) can dramatically reduce CO2 in the atmosphere by converting it to soil carbon through the process of photosynthesis. It can accomplish this through different cropping practices such as: (1) Reduced or No-till Farming; (2) Cover Cropping; (3) Composting; (4) Increasing Crop Diversity; (5) Organic Annual Cropping; (6) Animal Integration; (7) Managed Grazing; (8) Silvopasture; and (9) Agroforestry.
The World Bank and FAO have shown that one-third of the food already produced globally is lost between the time it is harvested and would be consumed. In developing Countries over 50% of harvested food is often lost during this postharvest period. Food loss and waste also exacerbate the climate change emergency with their significant greenhouse gas (GHG) footprint. Production, transportation, and handling of food generate significant Carbon Dioxide (CO2) emissions and when food ends up in landfills, it generates methane, an even more potent greenhouse gas.
The major reason for these postharvest food losses in developing countries is the absence of a cold chain to keep food cool while it is processed, stored, transported, and distributed. Cold chains are absent in developing countries because of the lack of a power grid to energize them. Fortunately, environmentally friendly solar-powered refrigeration is proving useful in building cold chain infrastructure in developing countries where power grids are absent.