Transforming Agriculture, Perennially

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Growing a Green New Deal: Agriculture’s Role in Economic Justice and Ecological Sustainability


Author: Fred Iutzi and Robert Jensen

Propelled by the energy of progressive legislators elected in the 2018 midterms elections, a “Green New Deal” has become part of the political conversation in the United States, culminating in a resolution in the U.S. House with 67 cosponsors and a number of prominent senators lining up to join them. Decades of activism by groups working on climate change and other ecological crises, along with a surge of support in recent years for democratic socialism, has opened up new political opportunities for serious discussion of the intersection of social justice and sustainability.

The Green New Deal proposal—which is a resolution, not a bill, that offers only a broad outline of goals and requires more detailed legislative proposals—will not be successful right out of the gate; many centrist Democrats are lukewarm, and most Republicans are hostile. This gives supporters plenty of time to consider crucial questions embedded in the term: (1) how “Green” will we have to get to create a truly sustainable society, and (2) is a “New Deal” a sufficient response to the multiple, cascading economic/ecological crises we face?

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