A Policy Statement Adopted by the House of Delegates, North Carolina Council of Churches, October 16, 1990
WHEREAS, the State of North Carolina supports the State’s farmers and manufacturers through a voluntary program entitles “Goodness Grows in North Carolina,” which labels products that are native to our State so consumers can buy locally; and
WHEREAS, buying locally is of particular benefit to the economic viability of small farmers who make up a large number of farmers in North Carolina; and
WHEREAS, energy experts note the savings of natural resources by buying locally, particularly saving in petroleum usage through reduced transportation costs; and
WHEREAS, buying locally can be of great benefit to farmers who work to keep their farming enterprises in scale and use ecologically sound farming practices; and
WHEREAS, product labeling aids consumers who desire to buy locally and who wish to purchase products grown with ecological sensitivity; and
WHEREAS, the State of North Carolina supports a cost-share program which helps farmers with the costs of certain conservation practices; an
WHEREAS, the State of North Carolina supports farmers through state supported Farmers Markets; and
WHEREAS, the North Carolina Council of Churches has expressed its concern for both the good stewardship of our environment and has called for the alleviation of social ills created by economic difficulties experienced by many farmers in the State.
THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED, that the House of Delegates of the North Carolina Council of Churches work with State Government in the following ways to help North Carolina farmers and consumers:
- Encourage the State to expand the “Goodness Grows in North Carolina” program with an emphasis on labeling products by their origin. Such labels will help consumers know that they are buying locally produced products, thus helping create markets and increasing the economic viability of farmers.
- Seek to have the State expand its cost-share program for conservation practices. Specifically, encourage the State to share the costs of sustainable agricultural practices not part of its program; i.e., the use of cover crops rather than petroleum based fertilizers and sharing the costs for reduced yield, which will likely occur when a farmer shifts from a heavy dependence on petroleum based products to organic alternatives. In short, to see that the cost-share program provides something of a risk cushion so that farmers will be encouraged to grow in a sustainable fashion.
- Challenge the policies of the State operated Farmers Markets. Currently, the State subsidizes sellers who purchase items not locally grown and re-sell them in the Farmers Markets. Farmers Markets should primarily sell locally grown produce (with the State and farmers establishing appropriate rules for “locally grown”). There should also be an effort to give more control of the Farmers Market to farmers through farmer’s boards. Such control would help insure fairer practices for all sellers, ultimately help consumers, and increase the viability of farmers as a cohesive community.