+ OUR FUTURE
Farmers needed and wanted!
I will ensure we have sensible regulations for sustainable farming and innovation so we can continue to build a quality, economically feasible rural life for any American who wants to live there (and contribute to the health of the planet and each other in doing so).
resilient soil will save us all!
catherine forsman for president 2020
Catherine Forsman for President 2020
Farmers and climate change
Zone changes for crops
Rural towns and jobs
Young and old farmers and how we can learn from each other.
All my life I have been torn between places, and maybe many Americans feel this way. I left a small town to go to school and moved to a big city. I grew up the daughter of a man who grew up as a farmer. He had to run a business to make ends meet and could never go back to farming. I de-tasseled corn before I was a teenager and harvested crops every summer in my teen years. I know what it is to ride in a tractor overwhelming happy, and also study hard to get an education. I have had lunch breaks in the middle of a field thinking it was the quietest and most beautiful place in the world. I also sat with families as their farms were auctioned off. And when I left, it was difficult to do so. And as I returned to my town through the years, I wanted it to thrive. I wanted the next generation not to leave for "the city" for work. I see glimmers of hope and strength and resilience every time I return, but I also see the struggle to survive. I think there has always been something inside of me that knew the health of our nation, and even our bodies, (and now our planet), are closely linked to growing things and the people who do so.
I also think everybody is concerned with the future and understands we are caretakers of the earth. Recently the air quality in India was so bad that people became ill simply walking outside. Farmers in China need to purchase pollen and then apply it to tree buds simply to guarantee a harvest of fruit. We must take on this challenge in our country to ensure we grow, harvest, and protect the vital resources of our environment. So why are we fighting, disagreeing, at each other? I'm not sure, but I want to create a way for people to give input, and then continue to propose solutions, which is why I am doing this. Vote for me or not, as I think everybody should vote their mind, but also ponder some of the ideas.
Maybe what people think about when they think of America is a place that allows a person to take on challenges through merit, talent, and grit, rather than closed hierarchies of power or money only. Maybe that is what the First Amendment was really all about: allowing people to express openly their ideas. So, I am going for it and I sincerely hope you consider letting me know what you are concerned about, or solutions you think could work. This section deals with Farms, Rural America, and Sustainability.
Do I wish everybody would want to take on this Grand Challenge? Simply: yes. Why? Because I care about a lot of different people. I have no interest in pitting anbody against another because it is vital to our well-being that we have open conversations with friends who become parents, families that wonder how they will survive the next harvest or rent, people with brilliant ideas that never seem to get the support they need to flourish. I am sick of it. There is more than enough for everybody, it simply needs to be distributed well and thoughtfully.
What concerns all of us should concern leaders. Fear should not overtake a democracy of dreams and courage. I think the world looks to us for that.
There is a way for rural communities to thrive. America can be a place that is both sustainable and produces the best quality food in the world. We can lead from the heartland, and bring in the financial and technology centers of this country to help.
Below are some ideas that I propose we can do.
A NATIONAL REIMBURSEMENT FOR FIELD CARBON SEQUESTRATION
Want to be reimbursed for using row crops and different planting techniques? Do you want to be part of an experiment across this country of farmers who are willing to be reimbursed for a few years to develop test strips and experiment with different techniques in sustainable agriculture for your farm? Well, Aunt Samantha wants you!
Do you want to help imagine the multitudes of different grains that can be grown along with your most regular plantings? Then consider this: CO2 sequestration is only part of the benefits of doing this. It also allows for a filtration system on the land and that builds a resilient soil network when weather changes or water needs to be managed. In the past, farmers had to take on the financial burden to test these ideas, and implement efficiencies to make it work, and often that failed because a farmer could not risk such experiments; yet it is the most beneficial answer to both sustainability issues and healthy soil. And, there are many other ideas that we can work with, but we need to embrace what farmers do and let them do it. So, let's start.
A FARM DATA-PLACE
a robust, transparent marketplace for farmers
We often think there are no answers for farms and farmers in a world that has over-focused on cities and urban environments. There are many solutions that both meet the challenges of farm economic resilience, crop diversity, sustainability, and also unite people. We have (and can develop more prototypes) of technology and farming practices all over this nation.
Americans could be the leaders in satisfying a very real need to feed the world the healthiest and most diverse food on the planet and save the planet at the same time. But to do so, we have to pull together all of our varied knowledge and then create the markets that meet the challenge.
This means creating a technology structure, that is protected but open, allowing every person to input what they want to incorporate into their diet with purchasing power, and farmers answering the aggregated call for such foodstuffs.
It also means, creating a flexible market place that is transparent and relies upon equitable distribution to consumers and producers of food. What does this look like? It looks like a lot of damn fun actually. The most sophisticated weather information could be added into the marketplace to help forecast and predict impacts on the marketplace from the environment.
And if we can do that, then we can also consider quickly helping farmers become certified to do so without added expense to them. A sustainable farming community that develops and produces highly sought-after quality food by growing it in a way that also builds healthy and resilient soil is both a national and global competitive advantage. To do so, regulations need to be more transparent and accessible.
I would work tirelessly with food companies to ensure they are incentivized to purchase food that is produced in this manner and everybody is financially rewarded for doing so. And we would trade the highest quality crops in the world.
For the consumer, it's time to finally relax and not carry the burden of vigilance in not knowing how you are impacting the planet with what you eat. How do we all know the environmental impact of what we eat or how it was produced, or even the economic impact to any farmer in the nation with the choices we make? Now, no clue. Not enough information to decide. Perhaps we should not have to calculate all of that as a consumer with the individual decisions we make. Instead, we could simply say we are going to create an open system that can be trusted to grade food for its sustainability.
This is how do we can support farmers to ensure diversity and a sustainable foundation to meet the challenges of the future of this country?
And it gets even better than that: We can put together an information structure that can be used by any person in the world, to access and know-how to purchase food from any American farmer.
To ensure privacy, all information would be randomized, with no farmer's details attached to the information. We will create transparency for consumers and farmers to grow a marketplace across the nation to enable a competitive and sustainable income for farmers and healthy food choices for consumers.
A NATIONAL FOOD RECYCLING PLAN
Many of us wonder if there is a better way to distribute food to those who need it and also manage how best to recycle food. There are many programs in this country that are already setup to distribute food to those who need it, we simply do not have a national plan for this. We also not have a system whereby those who can donate food can easily do so, and those who could distribute it know efficiently how to expand their operations.
I could tell you the numbers, and the rather negative impacts of food waste, hunger, and lack of coordination in this area, but I think it is something that we could quickly and thoughtfully as a solution to meet both climate goals, and ensuring nobody goes hungry in our country. There is no reason anybody in this country should ever go hungry, nor should everyday citizens wonder, or be perplexed, in how to help on this issue.
THE NEXT GENERATION FARMER
Mentoring from those who know how to farm
At a national level, we need to connect the next generation would-be or current farmers with an aging population of farmers so that they can learn and stewart the land together. Elderly farmers in this nation could earn credits towards their retirement, medicare, or even social security for mentoring younger farmers. And younger farmers could start a life on a family farm with the modern conveniences of technology access and innovations contributing to a sustainable future for all of us along with loan forgiveness programs. If we can do that, then we truly have the needed momentum of both mentoring and fostering a depth of knowledge about our farming culture and practices instead of losing it forever (which we are on the verge of doing so now). We should not lose valuable knowledge in this country that is vital both to our well-being and longevity, nor allow family farms and a lifestyle to be lost from both a national and global dialogue about health and climate.
Read the following
(or send me an email suggesting what you want people to know about this topic):
If you want to irk a farmer, tell them they do not know the issues with water and fertilizer. Farmers live and sustain their livelihoods with an understanding of water. Too much or little of it and their crops are destroyed. Improving and innovating water filtration and management is something that farmers deal with all the time. They know what parts of their fields suffer during changing water events, and also the issues surrounding nitrogen. More experiments in how to use data to understand patterns, and also topical applications within a field, can be done. But the reality is: farmers know more about this, and they also need a way to better understand what is happening as a pattern. At a national level, we can reimburse farmers for managing soil well, sequestering carbon, experimenting with nitrogen management. We will need longitudinal data to do this well, but various companies in this country are already starting on this problem. They understand there are various methods we now need to experiment with (e.g. farmers need to fertilize their crops, but it can also be sequestered by row plants). We need to understand this better and incentivize farmers for the work they put in on this issue.
THE ARTS, SMALL TOWNS + OUR RURAL VOICE
Young people leave small towns for education or jobs, and many of them never return. This is a shame. It is a shame because it takes away both the enjoyment of living in small towns and the enrichment and a particular creative narrative that has been lost over the last few decades in the American voice. Many people want to return home after their education but suffer from not knowing how they will find work in their rural community, especially if they have an arts degree.
I will work with state and local governments to ensure there are national loan forgiveness programs for individuals who want to go home again, and start a small business in the arts and|or medicine. And the White House could have a sponsored art exhibit every year from the rural communities across this nation (and indigenous peoples), showcasing the talent, and voice of everybody. We have overlooked this, yet it may be the most supportive and cost-effective way to revitalize our communities.
This may inspire you if you are interested in growing small towns.
FINALLY, COULD WE GET A SIGNAL OUT HERE?
Hello world, rural America exists. Often the wi-fi coverage on farms and within rural communities is lacking or is not consistent coverage. We need to fix this.
How? The 5G backbone on which most of the next version of the internet will rest needs to cover rural areas before expanding only into big cities, that already viable internet access.
This gap has created a digital divide that impacts people both economically and culturally.
We now live in a world where it is necessary to ensure we cover all areas of America that currently do not have access to the internet and also ensure we talk about it and put in place policies to protect everybody's privacy. This is a competitive issue and our nation needs to compete. It is often said that long-range plans can be made within governmental structures for the good of everybody, but it is also a national initiative to compete in the world economy. We can choose now to solve this issue, and close the gap that was created when technological access was available in larger cities first, and not always in rural areas, or not. I choose that we do so.