Policy Platform

Flatirons Young Farmers Coalition Policy Platform

The following Core Values are present in each of our policy positions: 

Stewardship, Community, Equity, Education, Profitability.

These core values, whether implicitly or explicitly written, stand as firm pillars to guide our work.

Overall Vision: This policy platform exists as a living document to unite the Flatirons Young Farmers Coalition under one voice. We will use this platform to advocate for our members' needs at the local level. This work will be extended to state and federal level advocacy where appropriate. However, the focus of this platform is in Boulder County. In this work, we strive to create an equitable, local and thriving food community where farmers can succeed financially while stewarding our environment for the future.

Farm
 
 
 
 

Plank #1: Creating Regenerative Food Systems for Ecological Wellbeing

Agricultural land within Boulder County should be used to support viable farm businesses and feed our local community. Building healthy soil, conserving water, and sequestering carbon are essential to these goals. We believe this land and our water should be ecologically stewarded over the course of generations. 

We advocate for:

  • Supporting the transition of land from conventional to regenerative and/or organic management systems to promote positive environmental outcomes such as water quality, conservation, water infiltration, soil health, and biodiversity.

  • Promoting the overall health of the entire ecosystem while maintaining agricultural viability. This includes promoting and protecting native species, yet implementing control methods when their presence is detrimental to agricultural use. For example, lethal control of prairie dogs is acceptable when they degrade agricultural lands and other management techniques have proven infeasible.

  • Offering public and private grants to farmers to implement regenerative practices that promote environmental outcomes such as water quality, conservation, and infiltration, soil health, and biodiversity.

  • Restricting planting of GMO crops and synthetic chemical use on public lands while forming clear and supportive plans to help farmers transition.

  • Offering financial incentives and subsidized leases for land that is managed regeneratively.

  • Using public and private funds to promote the adoption and the study of soil health practices.

Plank #2: Improving Access, Sharing Power, and Building Capacity

The biggest barriers that beginning farmers face are entrenched in systems that limit access to land, capital, resources and the knowledge necessary to succeed. Histories of genocide, slavery, segregation, and gender oppression make this access even more difficult for many people. In view of our fraught history, and with the understanding that ongoing oppression persists for many, particularly Black, Indigenous, and People of Color (BIPOC) farmers, we strive to create systems that are transparent, just and equitable. We believe that creating equitable access for historically oppressed groups will help create systems that make access more equitable for everyone.

We advocate for:

  • Affordable leases for beginning and aspiring farmers, regardless of race, ethnicity, class, gender, sexual orientation, religion, ability or immigrant status.

  • Creating educational workshops that help farmers navigate access to land, capital, resources and knowledge.

  • Creating mentorship programs that connect experienced farmers with beginning farmers to strengthen the farming community.

  • Actively communicating funding opportunities* to all farmers, with extra effort made to reach historically oppressed and/or under-represented groups.

  • Prioritizing outreach and technical assistance to historically oppressed and/or underrepresented farmers and ranchers.

  • Soliciting input from BIPOC-led organizations about how to improve equity in entrenched systems. 

  • Reaching out to BIPOC communities to create active channels of communication so that their perspectives guide FYFC decision-making. 

  • Actively communicating land access opportunities** to all farmers, with extra effort made to reach historically oppressed and/or under-represented groups.

  • Acknowledging and learning from the specific obstacles experienced by historically oppressed and/or under-represented groups in order to target policy objectives to create more equitable systems for the future.

 

*Farm Service Agency (FSA), Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS), Slow Opportunities for Investing Locally (SOIL)

Plank #3: Expanding the Local Food Economy through Increased Market Opportunities 

We recognize that local, smaller-scale food producers struggle to compete in a food system that subsidizes agribusiness. Likewise, we recognize that many in our community are inhibited by the higher cost of locally produced food and the extra effort required to access it. To help our farmers be profitable, and to allow more people in our community to access fresh, healthy, local food, we endeavor to increase connections and remove obstacles between our farms and our community. 

We advocate for:

  • Enhancing the Cottage Food Act and/or implementing a Food Freedom Act to allow more local farms to sell more products directly to local consumers.

  • Expanding the ability of Women Infants and Children (WIC) and Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) recipients to spend those funds at farmers markets, farm stands, and to purchase directly from producers.

  • Government recognition and increased awareness of local farmers as critical to food security for our whole community.

  • Expanding the availability and reach of farm stands, Community Supported Agriculture (CSAs), farmers markets and on-farm consumer education.

  • Clear labeling protocols that enable farmers to sell eachother’s products (e.g. at farm stands), while providing basic information to consumers about where food comes from and how it is produced.

  • Redefining farming as a Public Service, so that farmers may become eligible for student loan forgiveness and other kinds of government subsidies.

 

Plank #4: Reworking Regulations to Strengthen Farms’ Resiliency

Regulations should encourage healthy outcomes without restricting farmers’ discretion on how to achieve them. Regulations should encourage farmers to develop economically viable practices that balance agricultural productivity with greater ecological and community wellbeing. 

We advocate for:

  • Redefining “agricultural use” to signify sustainable and financially viable use instead of a definition that limits “agricultural use” to “growing” food. 

  • Reforming zoning and land use code, to allow for “accessory use,” to facilitate farmers’ ecological and financial needs and practices, including but not limited to:

    • Allowing farmers to compost on their land.

    • Allowing farmers to house laborers on their land.

    • Increasing the ability to build structures that would improve business opportunities, such as greenhouses and other season-extending infrastructure.

    • Allowing farmers to have commercial kitchens and slaughtering facilities.

    • Increasing the allowance for on-farm events, education, and farm stands on their farms, whether the property is owned or leased.

** Boulder County Parks & Open Space (POS), City of Boulder Open Space and Mountain Parks (OSMP), private landowners, and other land owning entities.

 

 

This document has been made to prioritize our members' needs; it does not encompass all issues.

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