Target: Tom Vilsack, Secretary of Agriculture, USDA
Goal: Demand that the USDA adopt a comprehensive organic farming policy
The world is optimistically celebrating 2015 as the International Year of Soils, which emphasizes the importance of sustainable farming practices that maintain healthy soils to produce the world’s food, protect the environment, and help ecosystems to thrive. While the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) endorsed this designation by “celebrating” it in an online news blog, the organization continues to support the consolidation of mega-farms on which harmful mechanized, chemically-intensive practices are employed. Sign the petition below and demand that the USDA construct a timeline to convert American farming into comprehensively organic operations.
The United Nations’ Food and Agriculture Organization spearheaded a resolution to designate 2015 as the International Year of Soils to endorse sustainable global farming practices. Even though the USDA began celebrating this milestone on January 6th, it remains supportive of chemically intensive farming operations.
Despite the UN announcement in 2013 that the world’s agricultural needs could be met with localized organic farms, mega-farms continue to load our soil, air, and water with toxic chemicals. No longer do we need massive industrial operations that necessitate the use of neonicotinoids, a class of neural-active insecticides, and other pesticides on vast fields of solitary crops. These unsustainable practices disrupt ecosystems, create mutant weeds, and decimate populations of pollinators.
Organic farming practices naturally sequester 50-100 parts per million of excess atmospheric greenhouse gases into the living soil, basically cleaning the air of its impurities. A 30-year study from the Rodale Institute showed that organic farms yielded 33 percent more in drought years than chemically reliant farms. Industrial farming is not the best method as we encounter more and more ecological crises. Tell the USDA to stop endorsing unsustainable corporate fairing practices and to shift its efforts to supporting small, organic farms.
Dear Mr. Vilsack,
I urge you to do something totally different this year within the USDA: orient America towards a sustainable agricultural future. Strategies to grow nationwide support for industrial farming practices have consistently failed. Now processors of these foods are forced to execute public deception, misrepresentation, and censorship through anti-whistleblower laws. Informed consumers are calling for objective labeling of their food and the conservation of the nation’s farmlands through organic practices.
We must reconfigure the nature of growing and distributing food to reflect the processes of nature. In doing this we will make our farms more resilient to droughts and pests and defend biodiversity.
Promoting jobs was a significant intent of the USDA’s farm bill. But since 1950 and the rise of mechanized farming, the then 40 percent of America who lived on farms has dwindled to less than 10 percent and, of that rural population, only 14 percent are employed in agriculture. If you’re looking to present the White House with a jobs program, consider promoting organic farms and the livelihoods they could create.
I ask you to convene a meeting with USDA officials that includes members of the Organic Consumers Association, the International Federation of Organic Agriculture Movement, and others to construct a realistic timeline to phase out non-organic processes.
[Your Name Here]
Photo Credit: Pl77 via WikiMedia Commons