According to the UK Green Party website the Green Party will try to achieve the following if they gain power at the 2010 general election:
AG100 The Green Party’s aim is to create an ecologically sustainable and fair society. Our agriculture policy seeks to pursue this aim with respect to the production of food and other agriculturally derived products. In stating this policy we acknowledge that the soil is the basis of wealth upon which all land-based life depends. We recognise the fundamental importance of those who work on the land.
AG101 The Agriculture policy cannot be taken in isolation from other policies; in particular it relates very closely to the forestry, food, land and countryside sections and also the sections on animal rights, economy, energy, the marine environment and others. It is related to the population policy in that we need to balance our ways of obtaining resources for living with population and productivity of the land; there must be an optimum population whose needs can be met sustainably from our land resources.
Agriculture Policy Principles
1. Production for human need should be consistent with the need to protect and restore biological diversity.
2. Agricultural systems, appropriate to local climate and soils, should be ecologically designed to ensure that they are locally self-reliant; food , materials and goods should be produced as near to the consumer as possible.
3. Agricultural systems should produce the absolute minimum of unwanted outputs which become pollutants; they should be cyclical systems in which outputs are turned into new inputs.
4. Agricultural practices must maintain or improve soil fertility and water resources and quality.
5. Treatment of animals must be consistent with GP policy on animal rights.
6. All people must have access to an adequate, wholesome diet of fresh food, as a basic human right.
7. Agricultural policy should be determined locally but within a Europe-wide framework of environmental standards.
8. Land ownership should not include the right to abuse the land or to deprive other citizens of access to land.
9. Farming systems need to adapt to reduce oil dependence.
10. Carbon sequestration in soils is to be regarded a matter of national importance.
11. Rotational pastoral grazing on mixed farms and use of marginal land for livestock and new woodland, need to be developed as part of mixed and bio-diverse farming practises.
12. Livestock fed outdoors on natural grass have better immune systems, produce locally grown staple foods with more health protecting nutrients, need fewer imported inputs and almost no machinery.
Agriculture Short-term policy aims
AG400 To increase substantially the proportion of land designated organic.
AG401 To minimise the use of harmful substances in the treatment of soil, crops and animals by farmers and growers; to protect farmers, rural dwellers and consumers from the use of these substances.
AG402 To encourage benign methods of pest and disease control
AG403 To encourage non commercial food production and the use of land not normally employed for productive growing, including urban areas (see LD204)
AG404 To minimise transportation of food and other agricultural products, especially live animals.
AG405 To encourage and develop initiatives promoting marketing of local produce.
AG406 Import/export of the same foodstuffs should be minimised.
AG407 Energy use in agriculture should be minimised. (See EN508).
AG408 To increase the overall spread of trees across all regions, in the form of fruit orchards, nut orchards, copses, hedgerows, small farm woods, shade trees, which will increase woodland verges as important ecosystems both for agroforestry potential and general biodiversity.
AG409 To prevent the further loss of small and family farms and discourage the amalgamation of farms; to reduce the size of farms and encourage mixed rotational cropping and more labour intensive methods.
AG410 To encourage producers to use their own local or traditional seed varieties.
AG411 To encourage diversification to crops other than food and fodder.
AG412 To reduce the amount of livestock kept on land which could be used for other food crops or afforestation.
AG413 To define and promote a sustainable, healthy diet as a basis for deciding what food crops to encourage.
AG414 To reduce the numbers of U.K. livestock fed imported grain, soya and fish meal concentrates, whose production causes enormous environmental damage across the globe and deprives communities elsewhere of their own food resources.
Agriculture Long-term policy aims
AG500 To be able to fulfil all our basic food needs locally.
AG501 To grow as many other products as we can to meet our basic needs (e.g. for textiles, fuel, paper) on a local or regional basis
AG502 To enable all communities to have access to land which can be used for growing for basic needs. (see LD200-LD206)
AG503 To ensure that all growing systems use only natural, renewable inputs and that all organic waste outputs are able to be recycled back into the soil or water system.
AG504 To maximise our woodland/forest cover to help maintain carbon dioxide at an acceptable level. (see F300 and following)
AG505 To protect habitats so that biodiversity is maintained.
AG506 To prevent monopolies and other concentrations of power in agriculture.
AG507 To decrease our dependence on soya, fishmeal and grain-fed animal products and ensure that all domesticated animals are kept in humane conditions.
AG508 To ensure that our use of the land and demand for food and goods is not detrimental to people or biodiversity in other parts of the planet.
I would be interested to hear both positive and negative views on UK Green Party’s Agriculture policies in the comments below?