Healthy Farms, Healthy Planet
The food we eat is one of our closest connections to the natural world. Farms should be environmentally friendly and provide food that is safe and healthy. Environment Illinois is working to make sure the rules for conventional farms are strong enough to protect our rivers and lakes. At the same time, we are helping to build the market for food from local farms that grow diversified crops using sustainable practices.
A step in the wrong direction
We should be doing everything we can to encourage healthy, safe food and responsible farming.
Unfortunately, the U.S. House just voted to eliminate programs that encourage local, sustainable farms. At the same time, they’re continuing to send billions of dollars to the factory farms that endanger waterways and contribute to air pollution by transporting food long distances.
The Senate can remedy this by restoring the programs that help small farmers, and making sure large farms don’t pollute our water and air.
We need access to more local food, not less
Fresh, local food shouldn't be hard to find. There are now 244 farmers markets across the state, but we can still do much more to expand opportunities for local, sustainable farmers. Most of the food sold in supermarkets and restaurants comes from factory farms that ship semi trucks full of basic commodities across long distances. Industrial agriculture allows polluted runoff to drain into our precious waterways, uses excessive amounts of chemicals, and pollutes the air from excessive shipping. Abusing our land and polluting our air and water to fill shelves with low-quality food is unacceptable. We must require factory farms to clean up their acts and at the same time that we encourage the expansion of sustainable farms.
Sustainable agriculture has grown from a collection of visionary farmers to a viable market sector. There is immense potential to provide food from sustainable farms to more people. We can build the market for good food and encourage more farmers to switch from growing commodity crops on chemical-intensive farms to growing food for local customers in ways that are in balance with the environment.
Environment Illinois is working to make sure the rules for conventional farms are strong enough to protect our rivers and bays. At the same time, we are helping to build the market for food from local farms that grow diversified crops using sustainable practices.
- Factory farms house thousands of animals and can generate as much waste as a small city — waste that too often ends up in our rivers, lakes, and streams.
- Illinois has some of the Midwest's weakest rules for pollution from factory farms.
- Restoring the programs that aid small farmers will help more local, sustainable farms grow and thrive.