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Sustainable Agriculture - and Energy What it will look like; what government can do. For ECSC Land Use and Transportation Subcommittee – June 10, 2008. David Reed 352-222-0651. Converging Problems. Escalating fuel costs Escalating biofuels production Climate crises

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Sustainable agriculture and energy what it will look like what government can do

Sustainable Agriculture - and EnergyWhat it will look like; what government can do

For ECSC Land Use and

Transportation Subcommittee –

June 10, 2008

David Reed


Converging problems
Converging Problems

  • Escalating fuel costs

  • Escalating biofuels production

  • Climate crises

  • Resource Degradation

    - Richard Heinberg, Dec. 2007

Converging opportunities
Converging Opportunities

  • Protracted war and global instability – energy implicated

  • Global warming - panic

  • Fuel prices drives consumer action

  • Crises in the food industry

  • Public awareness of interconnection between energy, food, transportation, climate

  • Growing demand for local, sustainable food

  • Solutions WANTED NOW= receptive audience

  • Election year in USA

2008 farm bill
2008 Farm Bill

  • Specialty Crop Research -- $30M

  • Organic certification - $22M over 5 yrs

  • Organic Agriculture Research and Extension - $78M over 4 yrs

  • Community Food Projects Competitive Grants Program - $5M

  • Beginning farmers and ranchers - $75M over 4 yrs

  • Farmers market promotion - $33M over 5 yrs

  • State-inspected meat can now be shipped for interstate commerce (helps local meat processing facilities)

  • RMA Community Outreach Program – 70% reduction

Land use transportation priorities
Land Use / Transportation: Priorities

  • Coordinate Land Use and Transportation to reduce energy use in agriculture, commerce, education, and other sectors.

  • Coordinate across agencies, across communities, and between public/private sectors.

  • Use planning to avoid urban sprawl, raise urban densities, find best use of land in every location.

  • Better implement existing comp plans and other policies to reduce energy use.

  • Raise awareness of links between energy, transportation and land use.


Enormous changes to come in global foods systems. We need to:

  • Redesign, re-structure, and reform local food systems

  • Rebuild the cultural basis of food production

  • De-centralize, un-concentrate. Move to integrated, dispersed, stable systems.

Assumptions cont
Assumptions (cont)

Minimize energy costs – fuel, chemicals, tillage, cultivation, transport, etc.

  • Minimize transportation distances and costs

  • Build food production in and around urban areas

  • Move food to people efficiently, rather than people to food inefficiently

Assumptions cont1
Assumptions (cont)

Minimize inputs: fertilizer, chemicals, water, and energy inputs -- labor??

  • Anticipate peak oil, peak phosphorous, peak water, etc.

  • Cumulative impact assessments

Assumptions cont2
Assumptions (cont)

  • Maximize use of organic inputs – composts, manures, recyclables

  • Increase nutritive values of foods (and energy efficiency in the process)

  • Increase vegetable, reduce animal component in diets.

  • Re-build an agricultural society to be sustainable

Basic goals for agriculture
Basic Goals for agriculture

  • Build a regional food system

  • Build a regional food community

  • Build a regional food marketplace

Sustainable agriculture
Sustainable Agriculture

  • environmental health

  • human health

  • economic profitability

  • social and economic equity

Consumer preferences
Consumer Preferences

  • Local, Small

  • Quality - safety, flavor and freshness, appearance, nutrition

  • Organic, or ‘natural’

  • Documented

  • Profitable

  • Environmental Quality

  • Farmland and habitat preservation

  • Convenient

Food system basic components
Food System Basic Components

Production >> Marketing >> Transport


  • Land, Water, Labor, Energy

  • Infrastructure

  • Social and Cultural Assets

  • Information

  • Organization

  • *Demand *


  • Producers, processors, warehousers

  • distributors, brokers, marketers

  • Farmers Markets, cooperatives, CSA’s

  • restaurants, wineries, breweries

  • institutions, corporations, NPO’s, agencies

  • Etc.

Participants gainesville fl
Participants – Gainesville FL

  • County and City Planning Offices

  • Special programs and initiatives, such as:

    • Energy Conservation Strategies Commission

    • UF Office of Sustainability

    • UF Center for Organics, IFAS

  • Alachua County Agricultural Extension

  • IFAS Small Farms Program, and IFAS Food and Resource Economics Dept

  • AC Dept of Environmental Protection (EPD)

  • AC Natural Resources Conservation (NRCS)

  • USDA Resource Conservation and Development (see

  • Gainesville Chamber of Commerce

  • Sustainable Alachua County

  • Florida Organic Growers (FOG), based in Gainesville

  • High Schools, Churches, and other institutions that have local food connections

  • Hundreds of local growers, many of whom are expert or innovative in different methods

  • Increased local sourcing by existing retailers, such as Publix Greenwise products

  • New cooperatives, restaurants, farmers markets, and other initiatives focused on local foods

What will it look like

What will it look like?



25 mi

Gainesville –

25 and 50

Mile radius


Land Use:




Data Source:


Gainesville –

25 Mile radius


Land Use:




Data Source:


Distribution system
Distribution system

  • Direct sales, minimal brokerage

  • Minimal hauling distances

  • Maximize backhauling

  • Aggregated pickup points

  • Aggregated dropoff points

  • Minimal processing, packaging, storage….

  • Use maps, GIS and communications to plan and adjust routes.

  • Avoid overlap and redundancy in transport

  • Avoid multiple haulers servicing the same areas

Specific actions map and analyze the region
Specific Actions –map and analyze the region


  • Map the industry – growers, retailers, farmers markets, distributors, warehouses, supplies and services, restaurants, wineries, breweries, processors, slaughterhouses, value-added……………

  • See Marketmaker websites for more info about how to do this –

  • Map the resources – water, soils, roads, etc.

  • Distribute maps to the food system – growers, consumers, agencies - online, interactive.

Specific actions analyze and set goals
Specific Actions –analyze and set goals

  • Analyze the industry and resources

  • Clarify objectives, and set quantitative goals for regional food system

    • Example: Oakland CA - 40% of vegetables to come from within 50 mile radius by 2015.

    • Hypothetical, Gainesville:

      • 25% of food to come from within 75 miles by 2015

      • 50% of all food to come from within 300 miles by 2015

Specific actions
Specific Actions -

  • Provide coordination, education, information

  • Maintain a central web portal that will be a:

    • gateway to ALL food system resources and issues for a given region

    • Knowledge base

    • Links to maps, analysis, market tools, distribution system

Specific actions land use issues
Specific Actions –Land use issues

  • Preserve Farmland and ‘open space’

  • Model best areas for food production, and other food system components

  • Encourage best use of resources, via permitting, planning, allocation

  • Help connect farm labor with available farm land (see Floridafarmlink)

  • Focus on raising profitability of agriculture

Specific actions regulatory issues
Specific Actions –regulatory issues

  • Reform regulatory system to apply to sustainable production

  • Encourage fair market practices (ie. Avoid monopolies, external controls)

  • Encourage proper application of subsidies, grants

Specific actions regulatory issues1
Specific Actions –regulatory issues

Protect local interests

  • Turtles in Lake Orange

  • Raw milk, grassfed beef, farmers market fees, value-added products

  • Help farmers meet insurance and food safety requirements for sales to institutions, wholesalers.

  • Mediate the collision between ‘conventional’ and ‘alternative’ agriculture

Specific actions institutional
Specific Actions –Institutional

Institutions can play a major role in re-building local food systems

  • Farming and gardening at schools, prisons, mental health facilities

  • Local sourcing by institutional food services

  • Buying clubs at churches, agencies, corporations, and other collection points

  • Distribution points – dropoff, storage, value-added

  • Food banks – well-established, existing networks connect growers and retailers to institutions

Specific actions1
Specific Actions –

  • Influence market structure

  • Assist small growers to meet marketing requirements – insurance, safety certification

  • Participate in a regional online marketplace

  • Coordinate food systems between regions

    • Look to emergency response system for government role in interregional coordination

  • Promote distant markets where advisable