Friends of the Earth US advocates for sustainable farming practices through their non-GMO consumer campaigns, as well as through advocacy work against the applications of technological false solutions such as nanotechnology and synthetic biology.
FoE US also promotes sustainable alternatives through their bee campaign that is aimed at telling the bigger story about the devastating toll that industrial agriculture and bee killing pesticides has had on bees. It campaigns for agroecological solutions that reduce chemical use and boost biodiversity and habitat for bees. They have raised significant awareness about the role of neonicotinoids in massive bee deaths and the need for less chemicals in the food system. They have a commitment from Home Depot to stop carrying plants that have been pre-treated with neonicotinoids.
For more than a decade, Friends of the Earth US has been a leading advocate for regulation and labelling of genetically modified organisms (GMOs). Currently this includes keeping new, unlabelled “whole GMOs” (such as GMO salmon and apples) off the market and off people’s plates while advocating for GMO food labelling.
In 2013, their market-based GE-Free Seafood campaign secured the commitment of more than 60 retailers with 9,000 stores nationwide, including Kroger, Safeway, Trader Joe’s, Whole Foods, Aldi and Target, to not sell genetically engineered salmon and other seafood. Salmon, posing risks to wild salmon and human health, will likely be the first mass-produced GMO animal to enter food supplies pending imminent FDA approval. Before the salmon has even been approved, we are seeing market rejection by both consumers and stores. Consumers are being clear that they want sustainable seafood, not GMO seafood.
The meat at the centre of many plates is also at the centre of some of our world’s greatest ecological and public health threats: deforestation, habitat destruction, water scarcity, climate change, water pollution, diet-related disease, antibiotic resistance, intolerable animal cruelty and more. Their Good Food, Healthy Planet campaign aims to address these issues by dramatically reducing consumption of animal products, while increasing access to and availability of sustainable meat and organic plant-based proteins on restaurant menus and supermarket shelves. They also advocate for better policies and regulations to reduce the harmful environmental, animal welfare, public health and worker impacts of industrial agriculture and push for greater public investment in more sustainable, affordable, local, just, organic food production.
There is great progress both in terms of organic sales, and the building of thriving local and regional food systems. In the US, organic sales are growing by double digits, outpacing every other sector of the food market. The increased awareness about the harmful chemicals and additives in conventional and GMO food, especially meat, is driving much of the growth in organics. Non GMO labelled food sales have reached $5 billion this year in just a few short years. There is also a massive movement in the US for rebuilding local and regional sustainable food systems with more synergy than ever before with food system workers. This can be seen in the collaborative work between food service workers, urban agriculture advocates, health care institutions, schools, farm workers, and many other communities. People are demanding healthy food across the food system for all communities.