Guiding Principles

Guiding Principles

1) Farmers are Leaders and Change-makers. We believe farmers, ranchers, and land stewards can contribute to the transformation of society. Though we have inherited an economic system designed to maximize profits, we structure our farms to feed our communities. Motivated by the looming climate crisis, we farm for collective resilience. Despite farm policies that exclude us from participation, we organize and persist. In carving out a space for ourselves to plant, cultivate, nurture and feed, we are uniquely positioned to advocate for and change policy to create this transformation. 

2) We Farm for Our Health: We recognize that food is medicine, connection to land is transformative, and the act of farming can provide fulfillment. We believe farming is essential to our public health and our well-being. We believe prioritizing the physical and mental health of our communities, of those who farm, and ourselves is vital. 

3) We Work for Racial Justice and Collective Liberation. The history of agriculture in the U.S. is defined by racial injustice and the struggles of our ancestors for collective liberation. We reckon with historical and ongoing violence against Black, Indigenous, Latine, and other communities of color, especially those with intersectional identities. As an advocacy organization working to change policy within the confines of existing institutions, we acknowledge that these systems are derivative of colonialism and permeated by anti-Black racism and white supremacy culture. We understand that our collective liberation depends on the evolution, or in some cases abolition, of these systems. We represent a generation of farmers who are motivated by the opportunity to orient agriculture toward the realization of justice and a world defined by equitable outcomes. 

4) Land is Foundational: We belong to and honor land as a life-giving resource providing for our farming, housing, and social needs. We believe a new generation of agriculture depends on repairing a land system that began with theft from Indigenous communities and is built on dispossession and continual displacement. We recognize the current distribution of land ownership as unsustainable, a threat to our climate resilience, and deeply unjust.  We believe that our work as farmers is to repair, enliven, and maintain our connections to land. 

5) Policy Change is Necessary for a Radical Future: We believe in both incremental and radical change in support of a just farm future. We acknowledge a distrust for a federal government that originated in violence and oppression, including dispossession of Indigenous lands and enslavement of African peoples, and that continues to harm BIPOC communities and farmers. And we appreciate a cynicism felt by many farmers that the system will never serve them at all. But we’ve seen grassroots policy advocacy dismantle inequitable policies and democratize political participation. We work strategically to contribute to these hard-won policy victories.  As farmers and advocates we lead with our shared values without compromising on core principles. We believe policy change requires work and dialogue, and we fight to ensure our advocacy does not obstruct the realization of the radical vision in which farming serves the public interest. 

6) We Farm for Climate Resilience: We are a generation of farmers who recognize our responsibility for climate action and imagine a future with thriving ecosystems. We know the climate crisis will define our future: we work to build climate resilience so our farm future is possible. We steward our soils in the long tradition of Indigenous practices and the legacies of agricultural expertise that respect our soil, water, and air. We are uncompromising in our stewardship and we expect the same from our public policy. We advocate for policies that support the work of farmers to shift from extractive forms of agriculture and power to a new agricultural economy premised on the regeneration of resources, well-being of people, and climate action.

7) We are Farmers in Solidarity with Farmworkers: We believe that a just future for agriculture depends on the recognition that farmworkers are agricultural experts without whom farms could not operate. We work toward the elimination of the exploitation of farmworkers and towards the full recognition and respect of their expertise, rights, and freedoms.  We use our power as a Coalition of working farmers to amplify our farmworker-led partners’ priorities, including immigration reform to legalize undocumented farmworkers, full labor protections, and more effective enforcement of labor violations. And we affirm that the U.S. would not have a crisis of attrition in agriculture if all structural barriers preventing farmworkers from becoming farm owners were removed.  

8) We Challenge Capitalism: Agricultural policy exists within a capitalist system that favors profit and wealth accumulation over community needs and the social good. As a consequence, we endure an agricultural system that urges consolidation, perpetuates wealth inequality, and exploits labor. As farmers and advocates, we believe capitalism must be challenged for the benefit of our communities. We build upon Black farmers’ innovation to expand accessibility of our products and build cooperative models. We believe in constructively challenging obsolete economic paradigms by acknowledging the limits of market solutions and private land ownership. And we work towards creating a public agricultural system where farming is a recognized public service, local food infrastructure is supported, and all people are guaranteed the right to food.

9) We Work Across Issues: Farms are not isolated from society. Farms exist as part of the broader community and working farmers are subject to impacts of policy beyond the limits of agricultural policy. And many farmers experience harm, discrimination, and limited opportunities because of these policies. We focus on agricultural policy but engage in issues beyond “agricultural” policy necessary for our vision for a just world, including, but not limited to: free education and debt cancellation, path to citizenship for all, climate action, healthcare for all, and the institution of a restorative justice system. We defer to partners in these movements and mobilize farmers to add their voices in solidarity.  

10) We Express Global Solidarity: We recognize the mistake of focusing on agriculture in the United States without being attentive to the role of our country’s policy on farming communities across the world. We stand in solidarity with global food sovereignty movements and are accountable to the ramifications of our agricultural system on the health and well-being of the global community.

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