Draft GPUS Platform Amendment Agriculture

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Old section title: Agriculture

New section title: Food and Agriculture

Section subtitle: Producing healthy food by sustainable farming

Our position: Greens support a shift to family-farm based organic farming and an ending of the use of toxic pesticides, herbicides and fertilizers.

Our current agricultural system is dominated by multi-national agribusiness and unsustainable practices that undermine food quality and security, and harm our environment and health. The industrial agriculture system consumes fossil fuel, water, and topsoil at unsustainable rates. It contributes to numerous forms of environmental degradation, including air and water pollution, soil depletion, diminishing biodiversity, and fish die-offs.

At the same time, pesticides used heavily in industrial agriculture are associated with elevated cancer risks for workers and consumers. In general a large number of Americans suffer from type two diabetes, obesity, heart disease and other diet-related illnesses. And what is thought of as inexpensive produce often the product of exploited farm workers and is is heavily dependent upon the use of oil and natural gas for farm-equipment fuel, fertilizer, pesticides, herbicides, and the transport of farm inputs and outputs.

Meat production contributes disproportionately to these problems, in part because feeding grain to livestock to produce meat—instead of feeding it directly to humans—involves a huge energy loss, making animal agriculture more resource intensive by a factors several times greater than other forms of food production. The proliferation of factory-style animal agriculture creates major environmental and public health concerns, including pollution from the high concentration of animal wastes, intensive fossil fuel and water use, and the extensive use of antibiotics, which may compromise their effectiveness in medical use. At the consumption end, animal fat at the end of this food chain is implicated in many of the chronic degenerative diseases that afflict industrial and newly industrializing societies, particularly cardiovascular disease and some cancers.

Greens seek a transformational shift to a system of organic agriculture and family-farms that uses less energy and resources, while it increases local production and distribution, and pays fair wages for workers. Greens believe that such a system can increase food quality and security, while protecting the environment and public health and revitalizing rural communities and economies. While not advocating a vegetarian diet for everyone in society, the Green Party does call attention to the personal and environmental benefits of eating lower on the food chain overall.

Greens also believe that access to healthy food is a human right. We seek to eradicate hunger from the United States and across the world.

Green Solutions

Expand organic farming

1. Establish and maintain the highest national organic standards.

2. Restructure commodity and price support programs to support organic agriculture. Phase out commodity and price support programs to non-organic agriculture.

3. Phase out human-made pesticides and artificial fertilizers, reject the routine use of hormones and antibiotics in animal feed and ban the use of sewage sludge and hazardous wastes as fertilizers. Promote locally or regionally produced, organic composting systems.

4. Modify government and land grant university research policies to emphasize the development of organic, sustainable practices.

5. Educate farmers about best practices, support their transition to organic farming.

Localize healthy food production, promote family farming

1. Incentivize and support states, counties and municipalities to facilitate distribution/warehousing/processing infrastructures and systems that are well-suited to purchases from smaller, diversified farms instead of large agribusiness and monocultures.

2. Provide incentives, grants, land and other resources for producer and consumer cooperatives, Community Supported Agriculture, urban farms, community gardens, school gardens, organic gardening, community kitchens, and rooftop gardening.

3. Promote local organic purchasing by schools, hospitals, food banks.

4. Promote farmers marker's to facilitate the ability of consumers to buy directly from farmers

5. Support the formation of local Food Policy Councils.

6. End the conversion of agricultural land to urban land.

7. Modify tax and credit policies to encourage a diverse and decentralized system of organic family farms and cooperative land trusts rather than corporate concentration and absentee ownership. Phase out all public subsidies to large agribusiness conglomerates and monoculture conventional commodity growers. Change resource allocation process away from production issues faced by conventional farmers to those faced by organic farmers. Ensure that family farmers receive a fair price for what they produce.

8. Promote Federal and state programs to encourage entry into family farming through access to affordable credit by beginning and minority farmers. Ensure access to credit and land family farmers need to remain in business. End historic discrimination against minority farmers by the US Department of Agriculture.

9. Support programs and policies that capture a greater share of agricultural profits in rural communities.

Democratic oversight and consumer power

1. Ensure that food prices reflect the true cost of food production, including soil erosion, water and air pollution, the effects of pesticide effects on consumers and growers, pesticide drift from spraying, antibiotic resistance, and the vast inefficiency and ecological footprint involved in the production of animal foods.

2. Broaden consumer perspectives so that environmental quality, resource use, and social equity issues are considered in shopping decisions. Require mandatory, full-disclosure of food and fiber labeling, including products stamped “inspected” by the USDA. Ensure consumers' right to know the contents of their food and fiber, how they were produced and where they originated. Require that food labeling contain the place of origin and address the presence of GMOs, use of irradiation and pesticide application

3. Regulate the WTO, IMF and World Bank in their food trade transactions to limit corporate penetration into local food producing markets. Don't use the threat of withholding food as a weapon in international relations.

Biodiversity, Health and the Environment

1. Promote the restoration of formerly traditional food crops. Establish seed banks to preserve biodiversity. Promote innovative farm practices such as permaculture, polyculture, and terra preta.

2. Enact a moratorium on irradiated food and genetically modified organisms (GMOs). Create GMO free zones. Guarantee the right for GMO free production. Conduct independent (non-corporate funded) long-term tests on the impacts on of existing GMO use food safety, genetic drift, pesticide resistance, soil health, effects on non-target organisms, and cumulative interactions.

3. Eliminate patent rights for genetic material, life forms, gene-splicing techniques, and biochemicals derived from them.

4. Support a rapid phase out of confined animal feeding operations (CAFOs) because of their adverse impact on animals, the environment, food safety and public health.

5. Promote the widespread growth and use of hemp for nutritional purposes like hemp seeds and industrial purposes including paper, wood alternatives, and textiles.

6. Support education promoting understanding of the environmental and health benefits of eating lower on the food chain.


Food is a necessity and a fundamental human right. All people have a right to adequate, safe, nutritional and high quality food; and those who grow it have a right to a fair return for their labor.

Our current food system is dominated by centralized agribusiness and unsustainable practices that threaten our food security, degrade the environment, destroy communities, and squeeze out family farmers. Our so-called cheap food comes at the expense of the exploitation of our farmers along with the oppression of third world peoples, inhumane treatment of animals, pollution of air and water, and degradation of our land.

The agricultural system for the 21st Century must provide a high quality of life for farmers, nutritious and safe food for consumers, and reward farming methods that enhance the quality of water, soil, and air, and the beauty of the landscape.

1. We encourage legislation that assists new farmers and ranchers, that promotes widespread ownership to small and medium-sized farms and ranches, and that revitalizes and repopulates rural communities and promotes sustainable development and stewardship.

2. We support new farming and growing opportunities and urge the inclusion of non-traditional crops and foods in farm programs.

3. We advocate regionalizing our food system and decentralizing agriculture lands, production, and distribution. We encourage public support for producer and consumer cooperatives, community kitchens, Community Supported Agriculture, urban agriculture, and community farms and gardens.

4. We advocate the creation of a Food Policy Council composed of farmers, including small farmers and consumers, to oversee the USDA and all food policies at the local, state, and national level. This council should adjudicate conflicts of interest that arise when industries police themselves.

5. We support the highest organic standards (California Organic Certification Standards, for example). We advocate shifting price supports and government subsidies to organic food products so that they will be competitive with chemically-produced food. We believe that everyone, not just the wealthy, must be able to afford safe and healthy food.

6. We urge the banning of sewage sludge or hazardous wastes as fertilizer, and of irradiation and the use of genetic engineering in all food production.`

7. We would phase-out man-made pesticides and artificial fertilizers. We support Integrated Pest Management techniques as an alternative to chemical-based agriculture.

8. Food prices ought to reflect the true cost of food, including the health effects of eating processed foods, antibiotic resistance, pesticide effects on growers and consumers, soil erosion, water pollution, pesticide drift, and air pollution. Indirect costs (loss of rural communities, a heavily subsidized transportation system, cost of the military necessary to defend cheap oil, and reduced security), though more difficult to calculate, should be factored into the cost of our highly centralized food system.

9. World hunger can best be addressed by food security – being self-sufficient for basic needs. Overpopulation is largely a consequence – not simply a cause – of poverty and environmental destruction, and all remedial actions must address living standards and food security through sustainable production.

10. Because of the tremendous amount of energy used in agriculture, we support farm subsidies to encourage the transition from dirty fuels to clean renewable energy as one of the most effective ways to move our country to a sustainable future.

11. We support legislation that provides energy and fuel conservation through rotational grazing, cover-crop rotations, nitrogen-fixing systems, and fuel-free, clean renewable energy development on the farm.

12. We encourage states to promote net-metering to make decentralized energy production economically viable.

13. Animal farming must be practiced in ethically and environmentally sustainable ways. Rapidly phase out the use of confined animal feeding operations and factory farms.

14. Applying the Precautionary Principle to genetically modified organisms (GMOs), we support a moratorium until safety can be demonstrated by independent (non-corporate funded), long-term tests for food safety, genetic drift, resistance, soil health, effects on non-target organisms, and cumulative interactions.

Most importantly, we support the growing international demand to eliminate patent rights for genetic material, lifeforms, gene-splicing techniques, and biochemicals derived from them. This position is defined by the Treaty to Share the Genetic Commons, which is available through the Institute for Agriculture and Trade Policy (www.iatp.org). The implications of corporate takeover and the resulting monopolization of genetic intellectual property by the bioengineering industry are immense.

15. We support mandatory, full-disclosure food and fiber labeling. A consumer has the right to know the contents in their food and fiber, how they were produced, and where they come from. Labels should address the presence of GMOs, use of irradiation, pesticide application (in production, transport, storage, and retail), and the country of origin.