The 10 Basic Principles of Peasant Agriculture

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1. The End of Corporate Farming and the Increase of Support Needed for the Sustainability of Country Farming,  In Other Words, Contributing To The Small Farmer In His* Ability To Earn a Living. Active Consumers and Active Farmers.

Corporate and intensive farming practices have led to more and more quantity while less and less people have been able to make a living off of their respective farms.  Due to the creation of global quotas, more and more has been produced by fewer and fewer, at the detriment of most.  In order to protect the sustainability of our farms, farmers and their lifestyle, the following 2 actions must be taken:

First, current “production rights” and policies (accessibility to finances, to assistance, the quotas…) which prioritize mass market distribution and the earning of small margins, and, which in turn, contribute to the demise of small active farms and thus the sustainability of rural territory (yes, our beautiful countrysides!), must be modified.  Secondly, each farmer, on his own farm, must be encouraged in making choices which can improve distribution in the marketplace by thinking about what he does, with what he has (the size of his farm), instead of feeding a “monopolizing machine” which in turn is destroying country farming and our rural areas.  It is called responsibility for his working environment.

2. Solidarity with Country Farmers In Europe As Well As The Global Environment

 Farmers can perceive themselves either, in competition with other farmers, or in union with a complimentary viewpoint. An agricultural policy which advocates competition throughout the global marketplace sets up a precedence for excess and protectionism/monopoly, instills competition amongst farmers, and therefore, in the longterm, contributes to the disappearance of a large number of farms.  Country farming and its villages are dependent upon SOLIDARITY and affirm 2 major points:

 First, the right to eat healthy food, by every human being, within every region of the world,  the ability to regulate their own food source by protecting their own individual agricultural environment, as well as that of their own farmers. Secondly, respecting the right of each farmer, within each of the world’s regions, the right to produce healthy foods.

3. Respect Mother Nature: We Have Not Inherited the Earth, We Borrow It From Our Children.

We Have Not Inherited the Earth, We Borrow It From Our Children. Food production requires use of the physical elements (water, soil, air), alive and fragile in the midst of nature, owned by no one and belonging to everyone, today as well as future generations. These natural elements must be protected.

4.  Value the Abundance as Well as the Rareness of Natural Resources.

In order to produce agriculture, man must master several factors: soil, water, energy, capital, as well as his space and environment, some of which is in abundant and renewable supply, others which are more rare and non-renewable.  Responsible conservation happens when country farms adapt their production to the soil and weather conditions all the while protecting the value of  abundant and rare resources. 

For example, the participation of human labor, within acceptable social limitations, is a renewable resource in abundance, in comparison to industrialized farm work which uses a huge amount of energy, most of which are nonrenewable resources.

5. When Purchasing Observe Product Origin, Product Transformation and Product Tracking. Observe Labeling and Its Transparency in the Selling of Agricultural Product.

 Every consumer has the right to know how his food has been handled (including  processed foods), to know under what conditions it was produced, clear through the final steps of how it was processed. He has the right to know the basic ingredients used as well as its marketing and commercialization channels.  This transparency for product knowledge goes above and beyond its tracking code, because it gives the consumer the right to verify the facts stated in the information given:  in each link within the chain of production, whatever the product, and wherever its origin.  This can be applied to all non food products as well.

6. Demand Flavorful and Healthy Product.

Quality is not subjective, its come from the basic quality of production: the size of the factory or environmental space, the intensity of production, the way it was raised and grown, the culture, and the use of Transfat’s. These conditions should be clearly indicated in the labeling requirements, easily recognizeable, identifiable and verifiable by the consumer. Quality should be obvious in the labeling/branding, such as by the following quality indicators: Biological Agriculture (Organically Grown), AOC/AOP (territorial labeling/branding), IGP (also a “protected” territory), and certificates of conformity. CONSUMERS MUST DEMAND IT.

7. Seek The Products of Small Farming OperationsTo Purchase.

Autonomy involves making choices and then assuming them.  It does not mean a dictatorship, which creates isolation, but rather the seeking out of complimentary partnerships, in production, among farmers, farming communities, and their inhabitants.

8. Create Partnerships With Other Rural Inhabitants

Agriculture and farming is a whole other world, but it doesn’t have be an isolated one. By participating in the economical as well as in the social structure of its territory and incorporating its privileged relations with the natural environment farming can be sustainable.  Farming and farmers need this social awareness.  The agricultural environment (farming) is instrumental as a place of welcome, of acceptance, and in the natural environmental balance of a territory.

In the same way that country farming cannot exist without soil, it cannot be without the support of its social and territorial structure.  To increase awareness and acceptance by local populations, farmers need to look outside their respective regions and create partnerships with other regions, these steps are necessary in the creation of policies which improve farming sustainability and a better dynamic commitment.  Each country farmer has a responsibility to assume the protection of his environment, its social, and economic sustainability and balance. These are done by the choices he makes.

9. Breeding  a Diversified Livestock Population and Raising a Variety of Crops.

Agriculture has a duty to preserve a specific biodiversity and heritage, both human and natural, primarily, for historical and ethical reasons. We do not have the right to eliminate a certain mode of life, which has been a fulfilling lifestyle for over thousands of years. And then there are economic reasons.  An immense reservoir of diverse species (both plant and animal) respond positively to specific climatic conditions; Industrial and corporate farming practices today, have relegated the use of our countrysides to a more picturesque or  “postcard” function, rather than the useful function for which it was intended.  The countryside could and should once again become that for which it was once intended, our future tomorrows…and a necessary farming lifestyle.  For all of us, city, farm, urban and rural alike.

10. An Global and Longterm Viewpoint

It is by looking at the global whole of what agriculture is, that we are able to understand its role and its impact in a social, economical and environmental dimension.  If just one of these parts are missing,  country farming can no longer exist.  This is how the ten principles connect and what it is they are leading to.  Whether it be social, economical or environmental, one part without the other is the destruction of the fundamental principle of country farming.  Each part is necessary, but only together do they contribute to the autonomy and independence needed to run and make a living on a farm.  And the protection of policies which do not contribute to the three parts necessary for farm sustainability also contributing to the demise of our farms and therefore, our respective countrysides and rural landscapes. Contributing to unhealthy competition among the farmers of the world, in the long term, contributes to their disappearance.  

We need YOU.  Country farming is dependent upon your solidarity and support. 

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