For Immediate Release
President-Elect Obama: Please Support Organic Food & Farming
WASHINGTON - A likely turning point in history took place on November 4th with
the election of Barack Obama, a politician who has publicly voiced his
support for family farms and organic agriculture, among other
progressive positions. Organic consumers and farmers now have an
incredible opportunity to shape the future of federal farm and food
President-Elect Obama is in the process of formulating policy,
assembling his transition team, and considering nominees for Secretary
of Agriculture, among other important positions. The Secretary of
Agriculture is responsible for directing the U.S. Department of
Agriculture and its $90 billion annual budget, including the National
Organic Program, food stamp and nutrition programs, and agriculture
subsidies. Obama throughout his campaign, and since his election, has
stressed that he wants to hear from the public in order to formulate
his policies. Let's all take him up on this invitation.
The time to act is now! Please sign the Organic Consumer
Association's petition letter to President-Elect Barack Obama today and
urge him to take a stand in support of organic food and farming. After
you sign this petition, please forward it to everyone you know. We need
to raise our common organic voice on a massive scale, if we are to
capture the attention of President-Elect Obama and his transition team.
Please consider sending a personalized note to the Obama Transition Team after signing OCA's petition by clicking here.
The text of the letter is below:
Dear President-Elect Obama,
Congratulations on being elected as the next President of the United States. We as organic consumers, gardeners, farmers and activists are especially hopeful about the prospects of creating a sustainable and healthy food and farming system that can improve public health, conserve energy and the environment, revitalize the economy, and help reduce dangerous greenhouse gas pollution.
We respectfully request that you take the following steps to create a healthy, sustainable, just, and organic future:
1. Plant a working "Organic Victory Garden" on the South Lawn of the White House, to symbolize your commitment to locally-based, solar-based organic agriculture, with surplus food going to local food shelves.
2. Hire a well-known organic chef, such as Nora Pouillon or Alice Waters, to prepare healthy organic meals for the White House and staff, including vegetables and herbs from the White House Organic Victory Garden.
3. Increase food stamp benefits so low-income Americans can afford high quality organic foods. One way to do this would be to double the value of food stamp debit cards for fresh food purchased from farmers markets.
4. Restore consumers' right to know by publicly supporting mandatory labeling of Genetically Engineered foods, with regulations similar to those now in place in Europe, Japan, and other nations.
5. Expand incentives for small and mid-sized organic farms and for farmers and ranchers who wish to make the transition to organic. The organic sector currently represents at least three percent of our current food purchases, therefore it deserves at least three percent of USDA program funds and incentives.
6. Appoint Michael Pollan, or another well-known advocate for organic agriculture and the relocalization of our food and farming system, as the new Secretary of Agriculture.
7. Provide funds and incentives for urban food access programs that connect organic farms with urban retail stores, providing fresh produce and vegetables for America's inner-cities.
8. [Redirect the existing multi-billion dollar crop subsidy system away from commodities and biofuels and instead towards energy-efficient, greenhouse gas sequestering organic crops, especially fruits and vegetables.]
9. Strictly regulate factory farms, Confined Animal Feeding Operations (CAFO), to sharply reduce or eliminate their damage to the environment and public health.
10. Fast-track the Employee Free Choice Act to assure that farm labor and other workers are guaranteed the right to form a union at their place of employment.
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The Organic Consumers Association (OCA) is an online and grassroots non-profit 501(c)3 public interest organization campaigning for health, justice, and sustainability. The OCA deals with crucial issues of food safety, industrial agriculture, genetic engineering, children's health, corporate accountability, Fair Trade, environmental sustainability and other key topics. We are the only organization in the US focused exclusively on promoting the views and interests of the nation's estimated 50 million organic and socially responsible consumers.