Petition Identifies Four Food System Policy Principles and Priorities for a Green New Deal
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Thursday, July 18, 2019
WASHINGTON, D.C.—Today, eight environmental, farmworker, public health, and food safety advocacy organizations delivered a petition—signed by more than 100,000 people—to Congress. The petition champions solutions to urgent food and agriculture issues that should be addressed in Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY) and Senator Ed Markey’s (D-MA) Green New Deal. The food and farming sector is the largest overall employer in the United States and a top contributor to climate change.
“Agriculture—and the farmworker families on which it depends—are some of the first victims of a changing global climate,” said Jeannie Economos, Pesticide Safety and Environmental Health Project Coordinator of the Farmworker Association of Florida. “Our current system of agriculture is one of the major contributors to climate change, but it’s also where we should look for transformative and just solutions. When we begin to pair social justice for workers with a just transition for our country, only then will a Green New Deal be able to bring about the systemic change we need to protect all our communities from the ravages of climate change.”
“Any Green New Deal that’s going to be truly effective in combating climate change must center around a transformation in our food and agricultural systems at their cores,” said Navina Khanna, Director of the HEAL Food Alliance. “If we are to succeed in building a sustainable future with racial and gender equity as core values, we need a Green New Deal that centers family farmers, farm workers, and food workers. Making fundamental changes to our food and farming system is urgent and central to stabilizing our climate, and ensuring food security for current and future generations, and making sure that all people working in the system do so with meaning and dignity.”
“If we are to address the climate crisis, we must transform our food system," said Lisa Archer, Food and Agriculture Director for Friends of the Earth. "We have no time to waste. Congress must support a rapid transition from the destructive, polluting industrial agriculture system we have now to a healthy, just food system that regenerates our soil, biodiversity, and communities."
“To embrace the future of agriculture is to end chemical-intensive agriculture by supporting and investing in the solutions posed by those at the frontlines of the climate crisis—including farmers, workers and their communities,” said Ahna Kruzic, Communications and Media Director of Pesticide Action Network North America. “Continued reliance on chemical-intensive agriculture would exacerbate the climate crisis while impacting the health of our environments, farms and farmers, workers, and communities.”
“Soil can actually capture carbon from the atmosphere, effectively reversing global warming and making soil healthier at the same time,” said Joey Lee, Digital Manager of the Center for Food Safety. “We must integrate regenerative farming practices such as cover cropping, the use of compost, and reducing tillage to improve soil quality and sequester carbon.”
Over 100,000 people have signed the petition to show support of a Green New Deal that adheres to the following principles:
4 Key Policy Priorities and Principles
- Carbon reduction, sequestration, and climate resilience;
- Fair prices for farmers, ranchers and fishers, anti-trust measures that help reverse food sector consolidation, and healthy working conditions with family-sustaining living wages for workers;
- Diversified, resilient local and regional food economies anchored by family farmers, ranchers, and fishers that ensure healthy, sustainable food for all to combat consolidation in the food and farming sector and reverse the rapid loss of farmers and deterioration of farmland;
- Avoid “false solutions” and agribusiness-sponsored proposals that do nothing to address the systemic causes of our climate crisis and delay progress.
This petition mirrors a letter signed by a coalition of 300 advocacy groups advocating that Congress support a Green New Deal that prioritizes food and agriculture solutions to climate change. The groups are asking anyone who supports the petition to tweet about it using the hashtag #GreenNewFoodDeal. The petition component of this project was a collaboration between the Center for Food Safety, Friends of the Earth, the HEAL Food Alliance, the Farmworker Association of Florida, PAN, 198 Methods, the Daily Kos, and the Organic Consumers Association.
Pesticide Action Network works to create a just, thriving food system. PAN works alongside those on the frontlines of pesticide exposure — from farmworkers to rural communities to beekeepers. PAN links local and international consumer, labor, health, environment and agriculture groups into an international citizens’ action network. Together, we challenge the global proliferation of pesticides, defend basic rights to health and environmental quality, and work to ensure the transition to a just and viable food system.
About CFS: Center for Food Safety’s mission is to empower people, support farmers, and protect the earth from the harmful impacts of industrial agriculture. Through groundbreaking legal, scientific, and grassroots action, we protect and promote your right to safe food and the environment. Please join our more than 900,000 advocates across the country at www.centerforfoodsafety.org. Twitter: @CFSTrueFood, @CFS_Press
The HEAL (Health, Environment, Agriculture, Labor) Food Alliance is a multi-sector, multi-racial coalition of over 50 organizations building collective power to transform our food and farm systems. HEAL is led by our member-organizations, and strive to amplify the experience and expertise of frontline communities who are most burdened by the disparities of our current systems.l@HEAL_Food
The Farmworker Association of Florida is a 36-year old, statewide, grassroots, multi-ethnic, non-profit farmworker membership organization with over 10,000 Haitian, Hispanic and African American members whose mission is to build power among farworker and rural, low-income communities of color to respond to and gain control over the social, economic, workplace, health and environmental justice issues that impact their lives.
Friends of the Earth fights to protect our environment and create a healthy and just world. We speak truth to power and expose those who endanger people and the planet. Our campaigns work to hold politicians and corporations accountable, transform our economic systems, protect our forests and oceans, and revolutionize our food & agriculture systems.
Photo: Peg Hunter | Flickr