U.S. farm policy should…
- Guarantee the right to food.
Every human, created in the image of God, has a right to adequate, safe and nutritious food. Enough for everyone cannot be guaranteed by a food system that is driven only by the market and motivated only by profit. International institutions and national governments–in cooperation with civil society–must collaborate to promote sustainable agricultural development and community food security.
- Reward conservation of the environment.
Agricultural industrialization has contributed to environmental degradation and created a food system dependent on monocultures, agrochemicals and fossil fuels. Offering incentives to farmers who increase biodiversity, protect soil or preserve water meets current needs without jeopardizing the needs of future generations.
- Promote sustainable small-scale farms.
Unregulated agribusiness concentration, in which a few multinational corporations set crop prices as well as food costs, has perpetuated poverty and led to loss of livelihood for farmers worldwide. Promotion of family farms and support for small-scale processing and marketing facilities leads to thriving local economies.
- Compensate farmers fairly.
Agriculture prices should be linked to production costs. Low commodity prices hide social and environmental costs. Farmers–including those who are women, people of color or beginning farmers–should have access to land and credit, and farmworkers should have access to worker protections and adequate pay.
- Allow developing countries to protect their farmers.
While trade can contribute to economic development, the export-oriented decisions forced on developing countries by international institutions and trade agreements have not, by and large, met the needs of impoverished communities. In general, the principle of food sovereignty–which discourages exports until all in a region are fed, and limits imports of products already grown locally–should guide farm policy.
- Recognize the roots of true security.
The current food and agriculture system, from seed to shelf, is highly dependent on fossil fuels. Disruptions in energy supplies or global transportation can rapidly lead to food shortages. Producing, processing and marketing food closer to where people live–localizing our food system–will reduce oil dependency and increase food security for all.