How current agricultural work injures and kills people and planet

Dean, subsistance farmer in the US, May 2020

“Job injury statistics also don’t include the pandemic of cancers and other illness that chemicalized industrial ag (aka factory farming) inflicts on farmer families and communities ensnared in that system, many of which farmers want out but are trapped by debt.

Nor the pandemic of suicides (US farmers and ag workers commit suicide at nearly five times the rate of the general population; in India nearly 400,000 farmers committed suicide over the last 25 years because, like more than half of US farmers who currently have negative farm income, they must borrow to acquire the ever more expensive hybrid/GMO seeds, fertilizers, pesticides and equipment that system requires, and end up bankrupt, even as the profits of the corporations that control the system and supply the inputs have risen sky high.)

Nor are included the millions of people that factory farming kills indirectly by killing the soil, causing the ever-expanding desertification at the root of global warming and its floods, heat waves and wildfires; and the nutrient-poor, poison-rich ‘food’ at the root of the exponentially growing pandemic of chronic disease. 

Nor are included the many murdered for defending their lands and waters from factory farming and other extractive industries.

But despite such chilling stats, a massive grassroots movement of small-scale farmers, farmworkers, fishers, herders and others, largely in the Global South but also the North (some 300 million just in La Via Campesina) – largely of color, including Indigenous, many of them women – who still feed 70-80% of the world’s people, is gaining strength as it fights to end factory farming (and much else) and replace it with community-determined food sovereignty and agro-ecological methods that, by restoring the health of the soil and water, produce abundant nutrient-rich food and thereby restore human health and livelihoods.

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