Alexis Baden-Mayer has served as Political Director for Organic Consumers Association (OCA) since she began working for the organization in 2005. Her interest in the food/climate connection developed when, at age 16, she learned about the environmental effects of rainforest deforestation. Her law degree comes in handy at an organization dedicated to understanding and educating the public and government about the effects of modern agriculture, including corporate involvement, on environmental and human health.
The Organic Consumers Association is an “online and grassroots 501(c)3 nonprofit public interest organization” based in Minnesota. Its three primary efforts are: promote “healthful, organic and regenerative food and farming systems that contribute to good health, protect and improve the environment, and combat global warming.” A secondary effort of OCA is exploring the effects of large corporations and genetically modified seeds and plants on the agricultural system. Staff accomplishes these goals by “educating and advocating on behalf of consumers, engaging consumers in marketplace pressure campaigns and working to advance sound food and farming policy through grassroots lobbying.” (www.organicconsumers.org)
Alexis shared that the climate change movement initially focused its efforts on stopping those activities and use of resources found harmful to the environment: fossil fuels, mountain top removal, etc. They’ve now added a parallel focus on a practice that helps absorb and mitigate the existing and residual carbon produced by fossil fuel use and extraction: regenerative organic agriculture practices.
Soil, she said, is the second most effective “carbon sink” after wetlands. It is a living, versus singular technological, solution to climate change that absorbs the carbon in the atmosphere and produces food for humans and animals. Alexis is excited about regenerative organic practices because they produce healthy soil, a healthy climate and healthy food that helps restore health to humans and the planet. It’s a “win, win, win” she said.
When asked how people can get involved, Alexis had two suggestions. First, support organic farmers and gardeners in this effort by purchasing good, locally sourced organic and pasture raised food. Second, get involved in the political process. Learn more about and share with your political representatives the benefits of regenerative organic practices. Healthy soil, climate and constituents are, at the end of the day, not controversial but important to all, no matter their political party.
Alexis is presenting March 10 and 11 at 11am in the Thinking Big track. Her presentation is titled “Dirt First! The Regeneration Revolution.”
The workshop description: Who will cure disease? Reverse climate change? Feed the world? Farmers. Millions going back to the land to restore soil and produce nutrient dense food, while drawing carbon from the atmosphere will. Join the Regenerative Revolution! Farm Bill primer also discussed.
To learn more about Alexis’ class and others in the Thinking Big track, visit Class Descriptions
Jennie Ashlock lives in Sylva and works at Southwestern Community College. Her background is in education and religion. In her spare time, she enjoys volunteering with the Jackson Farmers Market, gardening and exploring western North Carolina’s rich cultural and natural heritage.