Farming for the Future: Systemic Changes for the Climate Crisis

A UU Advocacy Conference

Register Here:

If you eat food, you care about the Farm Bill–even if you don’t know it! 

The farm bill connects the food on our plates, the farmers and ranchers who produce that food, and the natural resources—our soil, air, and water – that make growing food possible. 

The National Sustainable Agriculture Coalition

Why focus on farming to address climate change? About 11–14% of US greenhouse gases (GHGs) come from agricultural systems. Today’s technology can remove 178 billion tons of CO2 and reduce CO2 levels in the atmosphere by 157 ppm—enough to get us back to preindustrial levels. 

Farm bills address many issues UUs care about including food quality and food chain security, soil and water contamination, food deserts, equity for small-scale producers, conservation, research, crop insurance, and nutrition programs – 81% of the 2023 Farm Bill’s budget supports programs like SNAP (formerly food stamps).
Farm Bill Fact Sheet

Tuesday (Sept. 26) and Wednesday (Sept. 27) 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.
All Souls Church, Unitarian
1500 Harvard St NW (@16th) Washington, D.C. 

Tuesday and Wednesday evenings, 7 p.m to 9 p.m.
All Souls Church, Unitarian

Thursday (Sept. 28) 9:30 a.m.
The Capitol Hill Visitors’ Center
(luggage drop-off-and pick-up at St. Mark’s Episcopal Church)

Congress puts forward only every five years a “must-pass” farm bill that determines the kind of food and farm system we have. Congress is writing the 2023 Farm Bill NOW: So NOW is the time for our UU voices to be heard. 

We need your voice to join a growing coalition to support sustainable, regenerative, and equitable farm policies. We cannot concede to the “normal” corporate agribusinesses dominating the conversation. Here are just some issues that you might be concerned about: 

  • While small-scale family farms struggle to survive, corporate farms get huge subsidies for mostly animal feed like corn. We must change the incentive structures.
  • Our soil has been degraded with the use of poisonous chemicals and pesticides. We need to do more, and better, with conservation and regenerative programs.
  • Livestock-Animal Methane CH4 is 28 times more potent in warming the atmosphere than CO2. We must get the agriculture sector moving in a climate-smart direction.
  • Livestock animals are kept in tortuous dirty CAFOs—Concentrated Animal Feeding Operations. We need to stop new CAFOs and protect from biodiversity loss and contaminated water from animal waste.
  • For decades, the Department of Agriculture discriminated against farmers of color. Disadvantaged farmers need equal access to credit and federal resources. 
  • There are good USDA research and grant programs that are underfunded and don’t last long enough. When that happens, farmers return to what they did before.

Join UUs for a Just Economic Community, UUs for Social Justice, and UU Ministry for Earth in Washington, D.C., September 26–28, 2023, to learn about our food and farming system, and on Day Three (Thurs.) to advocate with our Senators for an equitable and climate-smart 2023 Farm Bill.

Whether or not you are coming, you can participate in UUs for Social Justice’s Write Here, Write Now campaign. More information will be coming soon—look for that on or about September 1st. Your letters will be delivered to legislators. 

Register for 1, 2 or all 3 days
Day 1: $40
Days 2 and 3: $70
All three days: $99

Scholarships are available, no questions asked. E-mail to inquire.

Our Tentative Schedule

All Souls Church, Unitarian
9:00 a.m. Registration
10:00 a.m. – 4:00 p.m. Speakers and networking (lunch provided).
Dinner on your own.
7:00 p.m. Concert with Jim Scott at All Souls. Event link here.

All Souls Church, Unitarian
9:30 a.m. Registration
10:00 a.m. – 4:00 p.m. Speakers, advocacy training (lunch provided).
Dinner on your own.
7:00 p.m. UU Service at All Souls: link here

7:30 a.m. Drop luggage at St. Mark’s Episcopal Church.
8:30 a.m. Meet in Room 209 at the Capitol Visitor’s Center.
9:00 a.m. – 10:00 a.m. Program and gathering.
10:15 a.m. – 1:30 p.m. Advocacy meetings with our elected representatives (lunch on your own).
2:30 p.m. – 3:30 p.m. Debrief at St. Marks and steps you can take back home.

Farming for Our Future: Speakers

Farming for Our Future: flyer

Farming for Our Future: Wed. evening Order of Service

Farming for our Future: Tuesday Evening Concert

Farming for Our Future: Wednesday Evening Service

The Farm Bill—Farming for Our Future: Systemic Changes for the Climate Crisis, A UU Advocacy Conference for Healthy Soil, Food, and Communities. September 26-28, 2023, Washington, D.C.

We extend our appreciation to the Unitarian Universalist Funding Program for supporting this event through its Fund for Social Responsibility.

Questions? e-mail


Yes, we wish that, too—it is a question of technical capacity, organizing later than we might have, and lacking resources to do it well, not wanting to get hopes up and fail. We do have a seminar coming up this Thursday* that might be of interest, though of course not a replacement for the in-depth nature of the conference. Also, we will be streaming the evening events, so folks can connect at least a little.

Interesting that the farm workers union ATC in Nicaragua is promoting all of these things, and doing them. Find out how they achieved food sovereignty and reduced climate impact. Nicaragua has 1/8 as much greenhouse gas production per person as the US. Please promote speakers from Nicaragua ATC coming to Baltimore-Washington area this week including UMD in College Park. See website.

Good point! We should get over our “American exceptionalism” and be more willing to learn from other countries (though sometimes it is not new information or technology, but a return to the past or continuation of practices we dropped in the name of “progress”).

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