Agriculture and food

Agriculture and the entire food system must be transformed so that they truly meet basic human needs and are regenerative, active forces in healing the Earth.

In addition, we believe in and promote life-style changes that counter the addiction to consumption patterns of food, energy, and material things that are beyond the carrying capacity of the Earth and are grossly unjust to the other peoples of the world.

We need to change our diets and patterns of food purchases to reflect the approach of self-reliance both in our own country and in other lands. We promote eating lower on the food chain, cutting back on exotic foods, giving preference to regionally produced organic foods grown on biologically balanced soils, and confronting the health, ethical, environmental, and economic factors of meat and dairy-based diets. In other words, we must promote attitudes that will not sanction the exploitation of the Earth nor of peoples throughout the world.

Ecologically-based sustainable agriculture

We call for the establishment of an ecologically based sustainable agricultural system that moves as rapidly as possible towards regional/bioregional self-reliance. We support research in the areas of appropriate technology, sustainable agriculture, and permaculture. The emphasis of agricultural research should shift to support these goals. Permaculture and natural farming methods including permanent crops need to be advanced and factory methods halted. We call for halting all uses of pesticide poisons and the phasing out of artificial fertilizers.

Resource conservation

Soil conservation and regeneration must be promoted as one of our nation's top priorities. We call for the elimination of all subsidies for the use of water in agriculture, including tax allowances for water use, to enable the conservation of water resources. Alternatives to fossil-fuel-based fertilizers-alternatives that will regenerate the soil-need funding.

Agrarian reform

We support policies that provide economic incentives to agricultural producers to the extent they are fully motivated to enhance the long-term health of the soil. We need to change farm programs and tax and fiscal policies that presently place small and family farms in a disadvantaged position compared with that of large, corporate farms.

We oppose patenting of all life forms, whether developed by gene-splicing techniques, selective breeding, or other methods. We promote policies that limit the amount of agricultural land that can be owned or controlled by any given person, corporation, governmental entity, or organization, ideally resulting in land availability for present agricultural and other workers. Such workers meanwhile have the right to fair wages and decent working conditions-especially protection from the hazards of working with agricultural chemicals.

We endorse policies that advance community and family organic gardens as a top Green priority. We call for acceleration of the process of setting "organic certification standards."

Resettlement/redesign of rural communities

We advocate policies and incentives for the voluntary resettlement from densely populated areas to smaller communities in rural areas, through programs that incorporate the following:

Regionalization/localization of the food system

We advocate regionalizing our food system to the extent that regions/bioregions become to a considerable degree self-reliant in food production.

As a long-term goal, we need to phase out the import of agricultural products that can be produced in this country, which will concomitantly enable exporting countries to increase their self-sufficiency. We need to initiate steps to end ownership and/or control of agricultural lands, as well as production, distribution, or marketing operations by corporations based, or with substantial holdings located, outside the state or region where the production takes place.

We need to initiate steps to form food producer associations and cooperatives within regions, and to form economic development organizations that advance the manufacture of value-added products within regions.

We call for policies that will incorporate the true environmental and social costs, presently hidden, of producing food by conventional, chemical-intensive agriculture-thereby resulting in competitive prices for safe, organically produced foods.

Education

We support policies that will require land grant universities to be more fully engaged in research in sustainable, organic, ecologically balanced agriculture. We advocate comprehensive public educational measures that will advance an organic, regional, more self-reliant food system.

Global responsibility

We call for the end of exportation, under any circumstances, of chemicals prohibited and/or unregistered in this country. Agricultural products imported by any company or government that have a detrimental effect on ecosystems or exploit indigenous or other workers in their production and distribution must be banned.

We advocate an end to all loan programs to promote capital-intensive, high-technology/highly mechanized, chemical agriculture.

We call for the repeal of U.S. legislation that encourages maximum exports of farm products to pay for foreign-produced goods.

We seek international agreements to stabilize commodity prices based on ecologically based, sustainable yields, ensuring that developing countries are provided the opportunity to participate in trade. We call for the restructuring of the World Bank and other financial institutions to serve ecological development and subsistence food needs of the Third World instead of cash crops for export.

We support the policy of providing and transporting foods in emergency situations to starving peoples wherever they are located, while we also support the development of community-based sustainable agriculture in those countries.

Biotechnology

We call for a reconsideration of the potentially far-reaching and unforeseen effects of hybridization and especially of genetic engineering in agricultural systems. We are particularly concerned about the threat posed to species diversity, which should be maintained and enhanced. We call for a moratorium on agricultural genetic engineering while an evaluation of its effects on ecological and social sustainability is carried out.