North Carolinians are urging our leaders to support local, sustainable farms- not big agribusinesses that pollute our air and water. North Carolina has the most organic farms (150) and farmers markets (200) in the southeast but less than 1% of food consumed is grown in local farms. Smaller farms tend to grow a wider variety of plants rather than monocultures of corn or soy which is better for the soil. Small local farms help with the air pollution issue because they don’t have to transport their goods a long distance, they just have to transport the goods to a local farmers market or just sell them from their farm and people in the community will go there to get their food. Agribusiness pollutes our air and water, we should grow our food in ways that don’t damage our environment, but preserve and protect it instead. Unfortunately, agriculture today is dominated by factory farms that contribute to air pollution by transporting food long distances and endanger our rivers, lakes and air. Local food can protect our environment fresh, local food shouldn’t be hard to find and we can do much more to expand opportunities for sustainable farmers, who don’t pollute our air and water. North Carolina boasts more farmers’ markets and organic farms than any state in the Southeast. Most of the food sold in supermarkets and restaurants still comes from out-of-state factory farms. By strengthening infrastructure that allows local farmers to compete, we can bring more fresh, local, healthy food to restaurants, schools and families. Agribusinesses like Monsanto and Cargill have tons of money and influence in Washington, D.C.—and they’ve rigged the game in their favor. Small farmers aren’t able to produce massive quantities of crops that serve institutions like schools, restaurants and grocery stores. But if they’re able to coordinate, local farms could meet the demand sustainably. Right now, as Congress debates the Farm Bill, we have a critical opportunity to change the way North Carolina grows, delivers and consumes food. But we will need a lot of public support to level the playing field for small, sustainable and local farms. Our staff is knocking on doors across the state, gathering support for local food. But the real key to winning this fight is you. And, by taking timely grassroots action online, you can help win much-needed programs to help local, sustainable farmers. Here’s a news article about pollution in farms… Smithfield among top water polluters in state, country For Immediate Release.Thursday, July 7, 2016- Raleigh, NC – Smithfield Foods, which claims to be the world’s largest pork producer, dumps more toxic pollution into state waters than any other agribusiness, and produces the third most animal manure of major companies surveyed nationwide, a new report said today, The NC Farm to School program has been supplying school cafeterias across our state with the freshest, locally grown produce from North Carolina farms since 1997. I hope this site is a useful resource for child nutrition directors, teachers, parents and students who may be seeking information about nutrition, agriculture facts, classroom activities and even field trip opportunities. Occupational and Environmental Epidemiology performs public health surveillance on illnesses and injuries due to asbestos, lead and pesticides and studies the effects of certain environmental and occupational conditions and hazards on the health of people who live and work in North Carolina. Rapid growth and the concentration of hog production in North Carolina have raised concerns of a disproportionate impact of pollution and offensive odors on poor and nonwhite communities. There’s also erosion and sedimentation so when a soil is well managed, it can be an efficient receiver of rainwater. If the soil is improperly managed, however, the water may run off the surface, carrying soil particles with it. This process is called soil erosion and it has has been a major cause of soil degradation in North Carolina for many years. Damage to water quality occurs when this eroded soil enters surface waters. Sedimentation occurs when water carrying eroded soil particles slows long enough to let soil particles to settle out. Sediment comes from many sources: agricultural fields, woodlands, highway road banks, construction sites, and mining operations. Sediment often carries organic matter, animal or industrial wastes, nutrients, and chemicals. The most troublesome nutrient element is phosphorus. Agribusiness pollution is a leading cause of dead zones from the Chesapeake Bay to the Gulf of Mexico. The pollution of these businesses is harming our drinking water as well. In Toledo, Ohio, runoff from agribusiness contributed to a toxic algae bloom in Lake Erie which contaminated the drinking water for 500,000 people. Big agribusinesses end up with a lot of manure and they don’t have anywhere to put it so most of it ends up in our lakes and other waterways. Air pollution from theses big agribusinesses can cause cancer in humans. Pesticide pollution of rivers, lakes and wetlands also directly poisons freshwater species, as well as people. Cotton farming uses a substantial amount of pesticides. Although only 2.4% of the worlds crop land is planted with cotton, it accounts for 24% and 11% of the global insecticides and pesticides respectively. The use of pesticides, fertilizers and other agro-chemicals has increased hugely since the 1950s, for example, the amount of pesticides used on fields has increased a lot the past 50 years. Pesticides often don’t just kill the target pest. Insects that help out in and around the fields can be poisoned or killed, as can other animals eating poisoned insects which is not good. Pesticides can also kill soil microorganisms. These chemicals don’t just stay on the fields they are applied to. Some application methods – such as pesticide spraying by aeroplane – lead to pollution of adjacent land, rivers or wetlands. Due to inappropriate water management and irrigation technology, fertilizers and pesticides also commonly runoff from fields to adjacent rivers and lakes and contaminate groundwater sources. These chemicals eventually end up in the marine environment too. Their most dramatic effect is eutrophication – resulting in an explosive growth of algae due to excess nutrients. This depletes water of dissolved oxygen, which in turn can kill fish and other aquatic life. At first, the pollution and dumpage of the waste effects were unknown and no one thought of it being a bad thing. At the end though, this pollution and waste dumpage does not only pollute our air, it has poisoned our water and harmed hundreds of thousands of people. It has killed thousands of animals and plants everywhere. In large quantities, particles from fertilizers grow algae faster, which leads to the depletion of oxygen and the killing of aquatic animals. There are even cases where people have contracted cancer from these events. North Carolinians are urging our leaders to support local, sustainable farms- not big agribusinesses that pollute our air and water.