Food Systems Goal 1: Reduce GHG emissions and increase carbon sequestration within the regional food and agriculture sector
Reduce food waste
FA 1.1:Redirect quality, edible food to local food recovery programs
Food recovery — or the gleaning of edible food from farms, markets, restaurants and other sources — can help further prevent food waste which might otherwise end up in landfills and add to GHG emissions.
Food recovery supports food insecure individuals and families by providing nutritious food. Many organizations help bring this excess food to tables.
Growth in the local food economy will require additional capacity for food recovery and programs that connect this food to organizations that help reduce food insecurity.
To scale up food recovery efforts, existing programs will need increased financial support from a variety of sources. Additionally, communities around the country are embracing smart phone apps and community-powered networks to facilitate the logistics of getting even more recovered food to its final destinations.
Recovered food should be accessible to food insecure individuals and families, which may require reducing the transportation burden. Consideration of a diversity of outlets, food delivery options and connectivity to transit, bike facilities and sidewalks is important.
Carbon offset pilot program
FA 1.2: Implement a voluntary carbon offset pilot program to incentivize carbon sequestration on farms and ranches in our region
Project Drawdown suggests significant returns on investments made on regenerative agricultural farming practices. However, the transition from conventional to regenerative agricultural has initial costs that can be sticking points for many food producers.
One solution to this problem is carbon offset programs. These programs — which can be operated by nonprofits, public benefits corporations, governments or for-profit businesses — focus on directing carbon credit purchases from companies with sustainability targets toward farmers
and ranchers to help them in the transition to practices that meet verified carbon standards.
Carbon offset programs may also support landscape-scale green infrastructure or watershed restoration efforts.
Enrollment efforts should be inclusive of minority farmers, with deliberate outreach programs to ensure participation and that service providers and educational/support activities are inclusive of and staffed by people who reflect the full diversity of our community. Programs should include entry points specifically targeting smaller farms and ranches.
FA 1.3: Support farmers and ranchers with resources to ease the transition to agriculture practices that provide environmental services and that slow/prevent climate change
Risk aversion to a lesser understood set of practices may be a barrier to expanding regenerative agriculture, especially for less experienced farmers and ranchers. Providing educational resources and programming focused on the benefits and techniques associated with regenerative agriculture will support this growing movement.
Additionally, supporting existing mentorship and networking programs for farmers can help sustain growth and development for farmers and ranchers who are already in the beginning stages of transitioning their agricultural practices.
Healthy food and sustainable land stewardship are inextricably linked to enduring social equity issues such as food security, nutrition and public health.