Draft GPUS Platform Amendment Agriculture
Old section title: Agriculture
New section title: Food and Agriculture
Section subtitle: Producing healthy food by sustainable farming
Our position: Greens support a shift toward organic farming, and ending the use of toxic pesticides, herbicides and fertilizers.
Our current agricultural system is dominated by multi-national agribusiness and unsustainable practices that harm our health, communities, food security and our planet.
Our so-called cheap food is, in part, manufactured through the exploitation of farmworkers, our soil, air and water. It is produced with oil and natural gas for farm-equipment fuel, fertilizer, pesticides, herbicides, and the transport of farm inputs and outputs.
We must transform our agricultural system to improve our quality of water, soil and air. And we must minimize the use of fossil fuels in the production and distribution of our food.
Given the strong ties between diet and health, Greens support the farming and consumption of foods that are both nutritious and delicious, to increase our enjoyment of food, while reducing the incidence of type 2 diabetes, obesity, heart disease, cancer and other diet-related illnesses.
We support localization of our food system, and encourage people to buy food directly from the people who grow it. To create vibrant local food economies, we must invest generously in revitalizing communities of family farmers throughout our nation.
Greens believe that access to food is a human right. We want to eradicate hunger from the United States and across the world.
Expanding organic farming
1. Establish the highest organic standards and reject the routine use of hormones and antibiotics in animal feed.
2. Shift price supports and government subsidies to organic food products so that they will be competitive with non-organic food products. Move toward eliminating all price supports which will also lead to allowing organic food to be more competitive. Price supports and subsides have tended to be manipulated for political reasons, rather than encouraging a safety net for family farmers and better food security for people in this country.
3. Phase out human-made pesticides and artificial fertilizers, and ban the use of sewage sludge and hazardous wastes as fertilizers. Greens promote locally or regionally produced, organic composting systems.
4. Educate farmers about best practices and support their transition to organic farming.
Safe, local and organic food for all
1. Localize our food system and decentralize agriculture lands, production, and distribution. Greens support the creation of land trusts for much of our farmland and encourage public support for producer and consumer cooperatives, community kitchens, Community Supported Agriculture, urban agriculture, and community farms and gardens, including those that grow culturally appropriate vegetables.
2. In the interest of ecological sustainability, public health, non-violence and alleviating hunger, Greens promote the initiation of public education to encourage people to reduce their consumption of animal foods, including information on healthy vegetarian diets.
3. It is unacceptable to use the threat of withholding food as a weapon in international relations.
Democratic oversight and consumer power
1. Phase out all public subsidies to large agribusiness conglomerates and redirect the subsidies to small and medium-sized farms that promote local organic production and sustainable agricultural practices.
2. Ensure that food prices reflect the true cost of food production, including the health effects of eating processed foods, antibiotic resistance, pesticide effects on growers and consumers, soil erosion, water pollution, pesticide drift, air pollution and the vast inefficiency and ecological footprint involved in the production of animal foods.
3. Require mandatory, full-disclosure of food and fiber labeling, including products stamped “inspected” by the USDA. Consumers have the right to know the contents of their food and fiber, how they were produced, and where they originated. Labels should address the presence of GMOs, use of irradiation, pesticide application (in production, transport, storage, and retail), and the country of origin.
4. Call for stringent regulation of the WTO, IMF and World Bank in their food trade transactions and enact measures to limit corporate penetration into local food producing markets.
Biodiversity and the Environment
1. Promote the restoration of formerly traditional food crops, as well as innovative farm production methods such as permaculture, polyculture, and terra preta.
2. Enact a moratorium on irradiated food and genetically modified organisms (GMOs) until safety can be conclusively 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. We support the growing international demand to eliminate patent rights for genetic material, lifeforms, gene-splicing techniques, and biochemicals derived from them.
3. We support a rapid phase out of confined animal feeding operations (CAFOs) not only because of their adverse impact on the environment, but also on food safety (e.g. disease epidemics), public health, and animal protection. According to the United Nations’ 2010 'Assessing the Environmental Impacts of Consumption and Production' report, "Impacts from agriculture are expected to increase substantially due to population growth, increasing consumption of animal products...A substantial reduction of impacts would only be possible with a substantial worldwide diet change, away from animal products."
4. We support the elimination of public subsidies to finance livestock grazing permits on public lands.
5. Promote the widespread growth and use of hemp for industrial purposes. Properly grown, hemp has virtually no psychoactive effects when consumed. With a relatively short growth cycle, hemp is an efficient and economically sustainable crop. Hemp seeds are extremely nutritious, one of the best vegetable proteins, and hemp fiber has a wide range of uses including paper, wood alternatives, and textiles.
2004 PLATFORM ON AGRICULTURE
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.