Saturday, April 12, 2008

Roger Doiron: Plant a Garden, Get a Tax Break?

Plant a Garden, Get a Tax Break?
by Roger Doiron

We give tax breaks to encourage people to put solar panels on their roofs, so why not offer incentives for healthy food production in their backyards?


My job as a sustainable foods advocate is to convince people that family farms and gardens not only can feed the world, they're the only thing that can in the long run. Big, industrial agriculture has enjoyed quite a ride over the past 60 years and has put a lot of food on a lot of tables, my own included. This bounty would not have been possible, though, were it not for the cheap and easily-obtained inputs on which industrial foods depend, the most important of which is oil. It has been estimated that our highly-industrialized food system in the US requires 5-10 calories of fossil fuel energy to create 1 calorie of food energy. With oil and food prices now at historic highs and many reputable geologists claiming that we have reached peak global oil production, that ratio is sounding less and less palatable.

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