Tennessee Town Passes Historic Sustainable Food and Climate Legislation
- Tennessee Town Passes Historic Sustainable Food and Climate Legislation
WATKINS GLEN, N.Y. – December 1, 2009 – In a surprising move, a small Tennessee town, appropriately named Signal Mountain, beat New York to the punch to become the first town in the nation to pass a groundbreaking Green Food Resolution, an ordinance designed to counteract the massive health and environmental damage created by large-scale factory farms and the meat industry, by encouraging local farms, plant-based diets, ecological sustainability and nutritious eating habits. New York currently has a Green Food Resolution pending.
Inspired by Farm Sanctuary’s Green Foods Resolution Campaign, David Cook, a columnist for Signal Mountain’s Mountain Mirror newspaper, penned a column suggesting the small Tennessee town should consider passing a Green Food Resolution of its own. The column caught the attention of City Councilman Paul M. Hendricks who immediately took action and presented the groundbreaking resolution before the five member Signal Mountain Town Council, who made national history when they voted unanimously to adopt the Green Food Resolution ordinance.
“Playing an integral role in the passage of the nation’s first Green Food Resolution reminded me of the power of true democracy,” said Cook. “Behind this resolution are countless others who are doing the same work in restoring the balance, in creating a right relationship once again between people and the land. I am proud of Signal Mountain and believe this is just the beginning.’’
The historic passage of the U.S.’s first Green Food Resolution in Signal Mountain, Tennessee marks a major milestone in the country’s effort to reduce its national climate “foodprint” — a more significant contributor to greenhouse gas emissions than all transportation systems combined — by proactively addressing the impact food choices have on the numerous health and environmental problems plaguing the nation. The passage also marks an important milestone for Farm Sanctuary, the nation’s leading farm animal protection organization, which recently launched a campaign to introduce Green Food Resolutions in cities and towns throughout the country.
“I was proud to introduce a resolution that is consistent with the values and principles I have long believed in,” said Councilman Hendricks. “As a physician, I know well the value of a good diet. As a long-time environmentalist, I understand the importance of decreasing the amounts of chemicals and especially antibiotics and hormones put into our food sources. As a community leader, I understand the value of keeping our food production at the local level. This initiative is a winning combination at all levels — personal, local and global.”
Future planning and sustainability are not new concepts in this Tennessee town. Signal Mountain signed onto the Mayor's Agreement on Climate Change two years ago while Hendricks was Mayor. There are also several small farms on Signal Mountain and many mountain residents already participate in plant-based Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) programs. The ordinance will complement these actions, as well as work that is currently being done to restore streams to healthy levels and resolve current and future traffic and transportation issues in a sustainable way.
“We applaud Councilman Hendricks and the town of Signal Mountain for taking visionary action to protect the health of their citizens, the environment and the billions of animals raised for food in deplorable conditions on factory farms each year,” said Gene Baur, president and co-founder of Farm Sanctuary. “By promoting access to healthy, plant-based food, Signal Mountain will indeed send a signal to the rest of the nation about the critical importance of thoughtful eating.”
Through Farm Sanctuary’s Green Food Resolutions Campaign, advocates just like Cook are reaching out to their local city governments to introduce resolutions similar to the one passed in Signal Mountain, and seeking wide support for the expansion of farmers markets, community supported CSA programs, community gardens and other venues that provide healthful plant-based foods.
On June 30, New York City Council Member Bill de Blasio introduced a similar groundbreaking resolution for New York City calling for a citywide FoodprintNYC initiative to reduce the city’s climate foodprint and create greater access to local, fresh, healthy plant-based food, especially in low-income communities, as well as city-run institutions. So far, 24 City Council members have signed on as co-sponsors.
Earlier this year, President Obama showed support of local gardens to promote healthy food by announcing the establishment of an edible garden on the South Lawn of the White House. In addition, the new U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Secretary Tom Vilsack announced his intention to create community gardens at every USDA facility around the world, starting with the “People’s Garden,” located on the grounds of the USDA.
If you would like to receive a copy of the Signal Mountain Green Food Resolution, or speak with Farm Sanctuary President and Co-founder Gene Baur, please contact Meredith Turner at 646-369-6212 or mturner@....