Draft GPUS Platform Amendment Agriculture
Chapter 3: Ecological Sustainability
Our position: Food is a necessity and a fundamental human right. All people have a right to adequate, safe, nutritious 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 corporate agribusiness and unsustainable practices. Our so-called cheap food comes at the expense of the exploitation of our farmers along with the oppression of people in the developing worlds, inhumane treatment of animals, pollution of air, atmosphere, and water, and degradation of our land. The agricultural system must provide a high quality of life for farmers, nutritious and safe food for consumers, and reward farming methods that drastically reduce greenhouse gases, enhance biodiversity, the quality of water, soil, and air, and the beauty of the landscape.
Expanding organic farming and ranching
1. We support providing technical and financial assistance to small and medium-sized organic farms and ranches as well as new organic farmers and ranchers.
2. We must phase-out the use of chemical pesticides, nitrate fertilizers and sewage sludge or hazardous waste as fertilizer.
3. We support a ban on irradiation and genetic engineering in all food production.
4.We advocate shifting price supports and government subsidies to organic and transition to organic food practices while eliminating subsidies for energy intensive, water intensive, GMO, factory farm and chemically-produced food.
Safe, honest, local and organic food for all
5. We advocate for the development of local food systems where local farmers and ranchers produce organic foods in sufficient quantities to supply local needs.
6.We encourage public support for producer and consumer cooperatives, community kitchens, Community Supported Agriculture, urban agriculture, and community farms and gardens.
7. Food prices should reflect the true cost of food, including health effects, environmental damage and indirect costs.
Democratic oversight and consumer power
1. We advocate the creation of a Food Policy Councils composed of farmers, ranchers and consumers, to oversee the USDA and all food policies at the local, state, and national level. These councils should adjudicate conflicts of interest that arise when industries police themselves.
2. We support the enforcement of strict organic standards in accordance with the USDA National Organic Program.
3. We support mandatory, full-disclosure food and fiber labeling. A consumer has the right to know the contents in their food and fiber, Labels should indicate the presence of GMOs, grenhouse gas emissions, use of irradiation, pesticide application and the country of origin.
1. We support a moratorium on genetically modified organisms (GMOs) until health and environmental safety can be demonstrated by independent, non-corporate long-term tests for food safety, genetic drift, resistance, soil health, effects on non-target organisms, and cumulative interactions.
2. We support the elimination of patent rights for genetic material, lifeforms, gene-splicing techniques, and biochemicals derived from them.
3. Animal farming must be practiced in ethically and environmentally sustainable ways. We need to rapidly phase out the use of confined animal feeding operations and factory farms, which not only produce unhealthy, contaminated food, but emit tremendous mounts of methane gas, a potent climate destabilizing greenhouse gas.
We support transitioning from chemical, water, and energy-intensive industrial agriculture practices to organic farming and ranching on the world’s 3.5 billion acres of farmland and 8.2 billion acres of pasture or rangeland can sequester 7,000 pounds per acre of climate-destabilizing CO2 every year, while nurturing healthy soils, plants, grasses, and trees that are resistant to drought, heavy rain, pests, and disease. In 2006, U.S. carbon dioxide pollution from fossil fuels (approximately 25% of the world’s total) was estimated at nearly 6.5 billion tons. If a 7,000 lb/CO2/ac/year sequestration rate were achieved on all 434 million acres of cropland in the United States, nearly 1.6 billion tons of carbon dioxide would be sequestered per year, mitigating close to one quarter of the country’s total fossil fuel emissions. If pastures and rangelands were similarly converted to organic practices, we would literally be well on our way to reversing global warming.
We support legislation that sequesters greenhouse gases, provides energy and fuel conservation through rotational grazing, cover-crop rotations, nitrogen-fixing systems, and fuel-free, clean renewable energy development on the farm.