Burlington, October 10 – This week, the Burlington office of Senator Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) hosted farmers, environmental advocates, and community members across Vermont to share recommendations with his staff on how agriculture can help mitigate climate change and adapt to its effects.
“Farmers in Vermont and around the country know that the debate about the reality of climate change is over,” said Sanders. “They want—and deserve—to be part of the solution in addressing this global threat. We need to hear from them and get their ideas on how to move forward.”
Discussion with the Senator’s staff focused on ways to position farmers to address climate change while improving the financial stability of their farms. Farmers highlighted the importance of rewarding measurable improvements to land, pollution and greenhouse gas emissions as well as providing financial incentives for farmers to develop sustainable farming practices.
“We need to recognize and compensate the expertise of farmers as land managers, because at the end of the day, it’s farmers who will have to put Green New Deal policies into practice,” said Abbie Corse, an organic dairy farmer from Whitingham, Vermont, who participated in the discussion.
In July, Senator Sanders introduced a Senate resolution to declare that the climate emergency facing the planet demands a “national, social, industrial, and economic mobilization of the resources and labor of the United States.” He is also an original sponsor of a March resolution in support of a Green New Deal. Sanders has long advocated for a comprehensive federal strategy to achieve net-zero greenhouse gas emissions, restore precious ecosystems, and protect clean air and water, while creating millions of family-sustaining jobs and investing in a sustainable economy.
Farmers and environmental advocates pressed for the need to improve soil health because both groups understand how critical it is draw down carbon and to make farmland resilient to the impacts of extreme weather like flooding and droughts. The group also strongly supported the idea that farms can best combat climate change when they are financially viable. For many in attendance, that includes reining in corporate consolidation and large-scale agribusiness to stop the decline of small farms and the drain of populations from rural areas.
“We can find solutions that both help our farmers stay afloat while also tapping into the great potential for farms to store carbon and provide protection from extreme weather events,” said David Mears, Executive Director of Audubon Vermont. “I am excited that Senator Sanders and his team are developing those ideas, drawing upon the innovative spirit that infuses Vermont’s farmers,” he remarked after the roundtable.
Vermonters interested in sharing their ideas for improving the agricultural economy through the Green New Deal can contact Senator Sanders’ Burlington Office by phone at 800-339-9834 or submitting a message here.