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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