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Land Without Bread: The Green New Deal Forsakes America’s Countryside

Originally published at http://www.commondreams.org/views/2019/09/16/land-without-bread-green-new-deal-forsakes-americas-countryside


This is a wonderful and timely article. Land can be used to plant a trillion trees against global warming. It has been seriously neglected.


Unless I read this article incorrectly, the author is simply referencing the non-binding, non-legislative initiative laid out in the House. It does not mention any of the actual Green New Deal plans laid out in detail by multiple candidates. Pretty sure at least Sanders’ plan talks about helping/transforming rural/farming America. It’s critique is spot on, its attack against the Green New Deal, not so much.


This article sets up a straw man and is written very poorly. It misrepresents the Green New Deal.
Cities are ecological blights, like oversized tumors sucking the life out of the world.
Wilderness and protected public lands should be expanded worldwide.
Industrial ag should be dismantled.
Animal “agriculture” should be ended. Stop the torture, abuse and killing of 57 BILLION sentient animals per year.
In the USA, many rural areas are where a high percentage of retrograde gun-loving people live.
And if we don’t get population growth under control, the entire earth will eventually be destroyed to feed humans.


I think it is a good article in that it identifies a blind spot in planning. There is a lack of continuity that isn’t represented in the Green New Deal (and this is still a top down approach). In other words, it is a remediation plan that should reflect an understanding of our relationship to the natural world more than fixing problems with the technology of nuts and bolts.


Tumber sez:
“Unlike their twentieth-century successors, laissez-faire political economists Adam Smith, David Ricardo, and John Stuart Mill viewed land as a third factor in production, along with capital and labor, but one with distinct qualities: it was fixed and immobile, it was scarce, and it could not be produced or reproduced.”

There is a working example of agriculture land-use protection in place in North America, in the form of British Columbia’s (socialist, of course) Agricultural Land Reserve. It was established in the early 1970s, covers both public and private lands and largely protects those lands from the urbanizing “sprawl” noted in this commentary.
Naturally, developers and their elected toadies have been salivating over this highly productive land, particularly in the Fraser River delta, for decades; thus far, provincial voters have held them at bay.


Another highly salient point regarding land are the legal precedents regarding abuses of Indigenous peoples land treaties. Dating back to discovery era dictates of European royalty, Doctrine of Discovery IS STILL PART of US land law when it comes to the rights of the original peoples. Since 2012 the roster of formal repudiations has been growing and anyone who cares about justice and reparations might want to take a look at how these faith communities and institutions have framed their repudiations. Time for the Pope to walk the talk and call for full repudiation of any further application of the precedents.

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Here in Vancouver BC in the area called the Lower Mainland there farmlands protected from development under legislation passed assigning it to what deemed “The Agricultural land reserve”. The owners can only use it as farmland and it can not be developed for housing or industry. There is tremendous pressure on Government to remove these restrictions in the name of “progress”.

Edmonton Alberta (a region where much of my family lives ) has also frozen some of the farmlands around it to development and they too face pressure to release these lands to the “wisdom of the free markets” , where it can be sold , parceled up and developed into housing , retail locations and the like.

The simple fact is this. Contrary to the claims of those Libertarians (The US version) and “free market” advocates , the best use of these lands can not be left to individuals or the persons deemed to be “The owners”. When the only interest is profit and maximizing wealth extraction the best use for THAT purpose conflicts directly with other issues that are more important then book keeping entries in some corporate balance sheet.


I hope all BC people will rise up to do whatever it takes to stop the ruinous Trudeau pipeline and protect the majestic Bella Coola valley and other regions of your amazing province.


Ummmm, we want sustainable, non-polluting energy. How about sustainable, non-polluting agriculture, which is mostly dominated by a few giant conglomerations?


What may have started out as a good thing (ALR), is biting small farmers in the butt in B.C. now. I don’t live there, but some are none too happy with the agency now.


It simple really. They would make far more selling the land to developers then trying to farm it. Exponentially more so in this Capitalist system the best outcome they can have is to sell it to a developer.

Except that’s not what they want to do. My understanding is they bought the property to small scale farm, opened a restaurant to sell their farm products, now their told they have to grow products on part of it to make and sell alcohol in the restaurant. That’s crazy by any farmers standards. Isn’t ALR supposed to protect farmland?

and hemp trees grow 13 feet in 100 days. Central Oregon Deschutes County is growing acres of it. It doesn’t need much water, doesn’t need good soil and can grow almost anywhere.


its a hammer AND sickle, people!

But seriously, I would like the US to stop selling bombs and start selling solar panels to the world. Add to that high-performance permaculture practices.

One thought that comes to mind is the media power to saturate any variety of concepts about “culture” which has been conflated with culture as otherwise defined.

Bernays and his ‘get’ as advertising/marketing/“loyalty” industry have proven to be evil incarnate in that evil presents itself as benign while in fact it is mortally cancerous.

A much more studious and even handed analysis:
“Culture” and Culture