Ecological wisdom demands an agricultural practice that conserves water, soil and energy with a minimum of pollution.
However, the bulk of our current agriculture consists of large-scale agribusinesses that rely heavily on the use of chemical biocides and fertilizers rather than organic methods. Economic subsidies mask the true cost of farming practices that deplete the land and pollute the soil and water. Precious water resources used to grow monoculture crops and raise animals in factory farms are often unsanitary and cause great misery to the animals. This system has resulted in the loss of half the nation's topsoil, pollution of aquifers and waterways, a massive waste of natural resources, and a decline in the nutritional quality of our food.
Rising new industries such as organic cotton and industrial hemp are testimony to a shift in public perception and demand for more sustainable products. Current cotton cultivation practices cause it to be one of the most polluting crops, using a defoliant in addition to the standard biocides. Industrial hemp, with a natural resistance to pests and weeds, had been a staple in our society until 1937. Hemp is replacing tobacco on experimental farms in Canada. It is a viable alternative to the use of forest products, and is a durable clothing material and food supplement.
The Green Party calls for:
Providing incentives for small-scale family farms, biological diversity in crop cultivation, and regional approaches to food supplies rather than the transportation of food over long distances to markets.
Implementing soil conservation practices, such as contour planting and bioregional restoration, to curb topsoil loss. Using crop rotation, compost and other organic fertilizers so nutrients will regenerate the land.
Reordering of agricultural colleges to teach organic and sustainable farming methods. Schools like the University of California Agricultural Extension should perform research in organic farming methods and integrated pest management as a way to replace our present emphasis on chemical biocides and fertilizers.
Banning the development of plant varieties that are tolerant of increased levels of chemical biocides. Ending genetic engineering in agriculture and the release of genetically engineered organisms into the environment.
Implementing pollution fees on non-organic fertilizers, and using the resulting revenue for environmental restoration.
Ending importation of agricultural products treated with chemicals banned in the U.S.
Educating the public to increase acceptance of organic produce rather than favoring the appearance-enhanced variety grown with biocides.
Fully deregulating the growth and production of industrial hemp, with assistance to farmers for converting to hemp cultivation.
Educating the public on the differences between industrial hemp and its cousin marijuana.
Opposing the weakening of the current California standards that define "organic food."