Draft GPUS Platform Amendment Agriculture
2010 PLATFORM - DRAFT CHAPTER 3: Ecological Sustainability H. 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 health, 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 and farmworkers along with the oppression of developing countries, inhumane treatment of animals, pollution of air and water, and degradation of our land.
There must be a paradigm shift and a reorganization of our agricultural system with a sense of real sustainability, where culture and ecology redefine the economics and where we create new opportunities by granting local access to safe and nutritious food, as well as farming methods that do not degrade the quality of water, soil, and air.
Expanding organic farming
1. We support the highest organic standards and reject the routine use of hormones and antibiotics in animal feed.
2. We advocate shifting price supports and government subsidies to organic food products so that they will be competitive with chemically-produced food.
3. We call for a phaseout of man-made pesticides and artificial fertilizers, as well as a ban on sewage sludge and hazardous wastes as fertilizers. We promote locally or regionally produced, organic composting systems.
4. We support education that teaches best practices and support for transition to organic farming for our farmers.
Safe, local and organic food for all
1. We advocate re-localizing our food system and decentralizing agriculture lands, production, and distribution. We 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.
2. In the interests of ecological sustainability, public health, non-violence and alleviating hunger, we promote the initiation of public education to encourage people to reduce their consumption of animal foods, including information on healthy vegetarian diets.
Democratic oversight and consumer power
1. We support the progressive elimination of all tax-funded corporate subsidies to large agribusiness conglomerates and the redirection of subsidies to small and medium-sized farms that promote local production and sustainable agricultural practices.
2. Food prices should 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. We support 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. We call for government–funded agricultural research to be redirected to plant-based practices that produce food for direct human consumption.
Biodiversity and the Environment
1. We promote the restoration of formerly traditional food crops, as well as innovative farm production methods, such as permaculture, polyculture and terra preta.
2. Applying the Precautionary Principle to irradiated food and 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. We support the growing international demand to eliminate patent rights for genetic material, lifeforms, gene-splicing techniques, and biochemicals derived from them.
3. According to the United Nations’ Livestock’s Long Shadow report, the livestock sector is one of the most significant contributors to our most serious environmental problems, including global warming, land degradation, air and water pollution, and loss of biodiversity. Thus, 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.
4. We support the elimination of public subsidies to finance livestock grazing permits on public lands.
5. We 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 for farmers to grow.