Top 15 U.S. farming and food outcomes to preserve, encourage -- and resist -- at Cancun

September 5, 2003: A one-size-fits all farming formula rarely suits any farm well, and doesn’t allow farmers to manage their land as stewards. Global ag trade policy imposed on every farming community works no better. Balanced policies that consider the vastly different needs of farmers in food importing and exporting countries are needed. Use these outcomes to evaluate what gets proposed and what happens at Cancun – and to consider how current policies affect your farm right now.

Outcomes to preserve:

1. Family-scale farms where the people who own the land do the work and make management decisions.

2. Community-building farming systems that conserve bioregional ecological integrity and economic vitality.

3. The ability of a community or nation to limit import of products that do not meet health, safety, genetic, fair trade, specified risk factors or other measurable qualitative standards.

4. Food sovereignty for nations, regions and communities to protect valuable forms of agriculture and maintain a healthful supply of affordable food for all its people – a right that no outside body can deny.

5. Traditional agricultural wisdom and acquired genetic expertise in rural communities.

Outcomes to encourage:

6. Food security and sufficiency through the most local and most sustainable agricultural production systems possible.

7. A realistic relationship between the cost of production and market price of an agricultural good.

8. Economic incentives for biodiversity through crop rotations, polyculture development, heirloom crops and landrace breeds.

Outcomes to resist:

9. Market policies that favor long-distance transport over local trade.

10. Corporate economic behavior unhindered by any governmental jurisdiction.

11. Trade policies that forbid or discourage environmental accountability.

12. Technologies that :

> Develop dependence on non-sustainable resources.
> Undercut natural processes, endanger genetic integrity.
> Hide the negative impacts of non-sustainable agricultural practices.
> Have devastating human or cultural consequences to non-beneficiaries.

13. Intellectual property rights agreements that unfairly reward genetic theft to the detriment the populations where biological life forms are indigenous or traditionally managed.

14. Further subsidies that reward production of crops that are exported for sale at below the cost of production in the exporting nation.

15. Suppression of freely available information on how foods are genetically derived, grown, handled, processed and technologically manipulated.