Greenfield wants to make it easier and more intuitive for consumers to support alternatives to factory farming and to eat in ways that align with their values.
Industrial agriculture—particularly industrial animal agriculture—is often extractive; it fails to sustain and support farmers, is abusive to animals, and does incalculable damage to our planet. Greenfield conducts field research and legal and regulatory analysis to identify policies and practices that perpetuate the current dominance of factory farming. We then apply this research to develop programs and policies that support more sustainable, humane agricultural practices.
We work closely with small- and mid-sized farms that prioritize animal welfare and environmental stewardship, and we spend time with consumers from all walks of life, learning about the pressures and motivations that influence their eating and purchasing decisions. From these experiences, we develop programs designed to help consumers access better, more sustainable products in ways that address their needs for convenience and reliability.
Truly resilient agriculture begins with the recognition that our food system is a web of intricate interdependencies. Our treatment of agricultural animals, our relationships with those who produce our food, and the social, historical, and economic contexts from which our eating patterns emerge are all inextricably linked. At Greenfield, we take a systems approach to agricultural reform, and we embrace the connections between farm animal advocacy, support for rural communities, promotion of local and sustainable food movements, and health, labor, and environmental advocacy
Federal Farm Subsidies Research
To build a more resilient food system, we must begin with an understanding of why industrial, confinement-based systems predominate. One important reason, often unrecognized by consumers and even by advocates, is the federal government's significant financial support for industrial agriculture.
In this paper, we provide an overview of several federal subsidies and assistance programs that either directly or indirectly support industrial animal agriculture in the United States. We assess the extent to which these programs influence the supply of and demand for animal products, as well as the degree to which these programs benefit industrial, confinement-based systems over more sustainable and humane production methods.
Based on these analyses, we recommend reforms that would either (1) decrease the government’s financial support of Confined Animal Feeding Operations (CAFOs) or (2) increase the government’s financial support for higher welfare animal agricultural production. (Full paper will be available January 2018)
Research Partnership with Austin Center for Design
This fall, Greenfield partnered with students at Austin Center for Design as part of the school's Interaction Design Research and Synthesis course. Students performed in-person interviews and on-the-ground research on a variety of topics, including farms' waste management practices, school lunch menu planning, how sustainable Austin farmers get their products into local restaurants, and factors influencing the evolution and consolidation of the livestock industry. Greenfield staff served as advisors and interview subjects for the students, attended AC4D classes, and evaluated their final presentations.
This partnership is part of Greenfield's larger effort to analyze the landscape between humane farmers and consumers and to evaluate the most effective means for promoting high-welfare, sustainable farming practices as alternatives to CAFOs.
Greenfield sponsors events designed to connect communities with local producers and purveyors committed to high-welfare, sustainable agriculture. These community events are a wonderful opportunity to network with colleagues, connect with farmers and food services in your area, and enjoy some delicious, joyful food! Click here to contribute and help make these events possible or to sign up for news about upcoming events.