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

What will it look like1

What will it look like?

100 mi

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

Gainesville –

25 and 50

Mile radius


Land Use:




Data Source:


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

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

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