Our Policy Work

The purpose of NOFA-NY’s policy work is to advocate for a sustainable, local, organic food and farm system within New York State. Our advocacy efforts are grounded in the principles of organic agriculture, established by the the International Federation of Organic Agriculture Movements (IFOAM), which emphasize health, ecology, fairness, and care.

New York Organic Action Plan

After four decades of spreading organic food, farming and gardening, NOFA-NY continues to pursue the vision of healthy communities, where everyone has access to fresh, locally grown food and the resources to produce. That goal led to the creation of the New York Organic Action Plan (NYOAP), using the National Organic Action Plan as a model. Volunteer members of the NOFA-NY Policy Committee set out in 2010 to coordinate a state version. To learn how you can support organic, check out the New York Organic Action Plan here.

Policy Resolutions

Each year at our January annual meeting, our members vote on policy resolutions that direct the advocacy work of our organization. 

Proposed policy resolutions are drafted and formally approved by both the Policy Committee and the Board of Directors in the fall. The approved resolutions are then sent to our membership and posted on our website before a vote of the membership occurs at the annual meeting. A 2/3 majority vote is necessary for passage of a resolution. Current members are encouraged to submit proposals for policy resolutions to be considered by the Policy Committee and Board of Directors. To view all policy resolutions from years past, click here.

NOFA-NY’s 2020 policy resolutions are listed below.

Whereas, high quality farmland is a limited and invaluable resource and recently developers have proposed a large number of solar projects in New York State on thousands of acres of our most productive soils—creating a perceived conflict between food security and energy security;

And whereas, owners of farmland can derive higher rental payments from renewable energy companies than from the farmers to whom they currently rent and 24% of the farmland in New York is on leased land;And whereas, there are many potential sites for solar, wind and other renewable energy installations (highway margins, flat rooftops, brownfields, etc.) that do not encroach on farmland;

And whereas, with good design and management, farming and energy production can co-locate on the same land in ways that are compatible with a farmer’s operation so as to benefit, rather than detract from farm viability

And whereas, community and public control of energy usually results in lower prices for electricity;

And whereas, regional least-conflict siting processes for the generation of energy for non-local use in which developers, farmers, farmland conservation organizations, environmental organizations, residents, and other stakeholders participate can result in sound decisions for renewable energy siting that also ensures that damage to wildlife is kept to a minimum.

Resolution: The members of NOFA-NY resolve that

  1. The siting of solar, wind and other renewable energy projects on prime and productive farmland of statewide importance should minimize the impact on current and future agricultural uses of the land;
  2. Developers should be required to follow the New York State Department of Agriculture and Markets guidelines on construction, operation, and decommissioning of arrays when siting on farmland to protect the future agricultural use; and,
  3. Studies should be undertaken to determine the impact of the growth of renewable energy on the leasing and availability of farmland.

Whereas NOFA-NY favors a viable farm economy for the family-scale farmers of NYS and for rural communities, and for farms to achieve economic viability, farmers want to receive a decent price from the marketplace, not the government, and the prices they receive for their products must cover the full costs of production, including living wages for everyone who works on the farms;

And whereas, NOFA-NY is a member of national networks that have set parity as a top priority and we want to publicly support their campaigns;

And whereas current prices from most markets, especially for milk, vegetables for processing and retail, and such storable crops as grains and beans, are not high enough to maintain farm viability;

And whereas there is enough value in the food and fiber supply chain for farmers, processors, retailers and consumers to all get a fair deal;

And whereas profitability is achieved when supply and demand are in balance;

And whereas, farmers are more likely to invest resources and time in regenerative practices that mitigate climate change by removing carbon from the atmosphere while improving the health of the soil when they are not worrying about going out of business;

And whereas, the farming population in NYS is aging and beginning farmers are deterred from getting started or from making a life commitment to farming when they cannot see a way to make a decent living.

Resolution: The members of NOFA-NY resolve that the United States government should abandon its cheap food policies and implement parity pricing for the 21st century. Parity pricing is a system of price supports combined with supply management and conservation that is based on equity and fairness, and should emerge for today’s agriculture from a country-wide process of discussion and debate among all relevant stakeholders, similar to the process that created the Campaign for Sustainable Agriculture in the 1990s. Parity pricing would be governed democratically through farmer committees in every county, and balance the needs of farmers with food access for people of all income levels.

Whereas, synthetic pesticides and herbicides such as neonicotinoids and dicamba and have been widely proven to cause plummeting declines in populations of pollinators;

And whereas, these pollinators include ants, butterflies, birds, beetles, bats, flies, moths, wasps, and bees. Besides honeybees, which are not a native species to North America, there are over 4,000 native bee species that are at risk due to pesticides;

And whereas, the decline of pollinators has a direct economic impact on agriculture, by decreasing crop yields and threatening the food available to feed the planet;

And whereas, synthetic pesticides have been linked to human health problems, including but not limited to: Alzheimer’s disease, asthma, birth defects, diabetes, cancer, endocrine disruption Parkinson’s disease and miscarriage;

And whereas, the use of synthetic pesticides has a detrimental effect on groundwater, well water, and aquifers. During large precipitation events which climate change is accelerating, there is a higher risk of drinking water being breached by unwanted chemicals;

And whereas, synthetic pesticides may directly harm the health and lower the life expectancy of farmworkers, landscapers, municipal gardeners, and golf course workers.

Resolution: The members of NOFA-NY resolve that we encourage localities and counties to pass laws regulating the use of synthetic pesticides not approved for organic production that may harm its citizens, animals and plants, so that the web of life that has evolved for millennia can continue to sustain us all.

Whereas people must have the right to grow their own food and medicine;

And whereas the current bill before the New York State Legislature prohibits individuals from growing marijuana for their own personal use.

Resolution: The members of NOFA-NY resolve that the legalization of marijuana in New York State must allow individuals to grow marijuana for personal use. We believe the Massachusetts model, which allows a maximum of six plants per individual or twelve per couple, is fair.

Our Networks

NOFA-NY maintains membership within several organizations who work to grow a robust organic food and farm system regionally, nationally, and internationally. You can learn more about our partners by visiting their websites below.

NOFA-NY is a member of:

NOFA-NY is also a member of the National Healthy Soils Policy Network.