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.

Healthy Farms Updates

Report | Environment Illinois Research & Education Center

Factory Farms, Fouled Waters

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Report | Environment Illinois Research & Education Center

Corporate Agribusiness and America's Waterways

Pollution from agribusiness is responsible for some of America’s most intractable water quality problems – including the "dead zones" in the Chesapeake Bay, Gulf of Mexico and Lake Erie, and the pollution of countless streams and lakes with nutrients, bacteria, sediment and pesticides.

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Report | Environment Illinois Research and Education Center

Growing Influence

The agribusiness lobby is well known as one of the most powerful in Washington, D.C., and many states. Less well known is the fact that big agribusiness interests are among the largest roadblocks to cleaner water for the American people.

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