By Eneris Aymée Bernard Santos
It is not new to anyone that large corporations have taken possession of the food market, thus generating disparity for small and medium-sized entrepreneurs looking to put their quality products on the market at a fair price.
Due to the pandemic, we have seen how supermarket shelves have emptied; however, this is also due to the monopoly game of transnationals, something Graham Christensen seeks to change to give more participation to Nebraska’s small and medium-sized farmers through his consulting company called GC Resolve.
According to an article by Grist, GC Resolve has joined with a research-based pandemic response coalition called PReP Rural to protect essential workers; support young, diverse farmers; and make climate-friendly livestock rearing the standard while providing food for the masses.
Christensen suggests that to create short- and long-term fixes for the farming and agricultural industry in the US, the following needs to happen:
- Meatpacking workers need adequate pay, PPE, and standards for cleanliness and distancing,
- Update and enforce antitrust legislation through the state and local inspection systems not controlled by the US Department of Agriculture—this last one he says are not present in the communities and, therefore, will not allow the development of localized plants.
These changes created with the help of PReP Rural will help young farmer to develop more opportunities for ownership, as well as access to regional and local markets.
PReP Rural could also open the doors to other types of reforms in the agricultural industry such as: the lift of prohibitions on interstate shipments for state-inspected meat, and reinstate a grain-reserve program to make grains and seeds accessible, especially during the pandemic.
Lastly, Christensen emphasizes the importance of creative, entrepreneurial, and open-minded young farmers in the agricultural industry. “…it’s these young farmers who can draw down greenhouse gas emissions to the levels that we need.”
However, many of these young farmers tend to move away from urban areas. Christensen urges that a subsidy reform on the federal level can help older farmers retire and give their land to young and diverse farmers.
“I would like to see more diverse people integrated into Nebraska’s mostly white communities so we can rebuild our culture together. I believe that it is possible and that everyone can have access to nutritious food.”
*With the information of Grist.