BSC2009 – Lessons From Home – Claire Hope Cummings

Claire Hope Cummings resonates with the previous presentation by Herb Barbelot and his comment, “Power to the People”. She went from lawyer to journalist, farmer and food advocate. She lives in Marin County, California, USA.

Put the culture back in agriculture

All we’ve got left after a couple of generations is agribusiness. European style agriculture grew into American style industrialized agribusiness by the 50’s and 60’s.

Marin County’s Journey

  • The regulatory environment dictates the ability for small business to succeed or fail.
  • think long term
  • protect land and water
  • ensure all food system participants are involved
  • produce local food
  • innovative strategies
  • Food Policy Council
  • Food system education and organic lunch programs (feeding 12,000 kids in schools).
  • Pro-active public policies and studies that support local and sustainable production and consumption
  • Local organic labelling (10 years old) 30% of what is produced in Marin is consumed in Marin – 80% is consumed regionally. (16,000 acres of land certified organic)
  • Local farmers Markets
  • Artisan products and diversity of crops/products
  • Certified Farmers Markets
  • Using agricultural extensions
  • GMO free
  • Guiding Principles
    • Foster Relationships
    • Support Local Leadership
    • Reward Innovation
    • Cultivate Land Stewardship


    Other thoughts

    • Chemical, high energy agriculture is dying – local sustainability is agriculture at a sustainable local level.
    • The economy is not going to support high cost (organic) items for much longer – we need to produce food locally for local consumption.
    • GMO will cause us great problems when drought comes.
    • Colony collapse disorder may be a potential outcome of the current situation.

    Published by Mike Thomas

    Mike Thomas P.Eng. ENV SP, is the author of and Director of Engineering at the City of Revelstoke in the Interior of British Columbia, Canada.