Quantcast
Environmental News for a Healthier Planet and Life

Good News for Local and Regional Food

Good News for Local and Regional Food

National Sustainable Agriculture Coalition

Senator Sherrod Brown (D-OH) and Representative Chellie Pingree (D-ME) announced that next week they will introduce the Local Farms, Food, and Jobs Act—a comprehensive bill intended for inclusion in the 2012 Farm Bill.

This legislation will help farmers and ranchers engaged in local and regional agriculture by addressing production, aggregation, processing, marketing and distribution needs. It will also assist consumers by improving access to healthy food. Of utmost importance, the bill will provide secure farm bill funding for critically important programs that support family farms, expand new farming opportunities and rural jobs, and invest in the local agriculture economy.

“We applaud Senator Brown and Congresswoman Pingree for introducing this legislation, which is important to farmers and consumers alike,” said Helen Dombalis, a policy associate with the National Sustainable Agriculture Coalition. “The Local Farms, Food, and Jobs Act revises and expands federal farm programs already in place to ensure that they work well for producers wanting to add value to their products and to sell in their own communities and regional markets, helping to meet rapidly expanding consumer demand for local food.”

The National Sustainable Agriculture Coalition and its 40 member groups were closely involved in the development of the bill. Among the many other groups endorsing the measure are the National Farmers Union, National Organic Coalition, Community Food Security Coalition, American Farmland Trust, and the National Farm to School Network.

The bill includes provisions that cut across ten titles of the Farm Bill, including proposals that address conservation, credit, nutrition, rural development, research and extension, food safety, livestock and crop insurance. For instance, the bill would:

  • Authorize U.S. Department of Agriculture's (USDA) Risk Management Agency to develop a whole farm revenue insurance product for diversified operations, including specialty crops and mixed grain/livestock or dairy operations

  • Strengthen direct producer-to-consumer and larger scale retail and institutional marketing channels, through the Local Marketing Promotion Program, a renewal and expansion of the current Farmers’ Market Promotion Program

  • Expand USDA’s rural Business and Industry loan funding set-aside for local and regional food enterprises and infrastructure

  • Create an annual allocation for local and regional specialty crop market development within the Specialty Crop Block Grant program

  • Renew funding for the National Organic Certification Cost Share Program to assist producers entering into organic production, and

  • Fund farmer food safety training through the National Food Safety Training, Education, Extension, Outreach and Technical Assistance program, authorized last year as part of the Food Safety Modernization Act of 2010.

For more information, click here.

—————

The National Sustainable Agriculture Coalition is a grassroots alliance that advocates for federal policy reform supporting the long-term social, economic, and environmental sustainability of agriculture, natural resources, and rural communities.

Marilyn Angel Wynn / Getty Images

By Christina Gish Hill

Historians know that turkey and corn were part of the first Thanksgiving, when Wampanoag peoples shared a harvest meal with the pilgrims of Plymouth plantation in Massachusetts. And traditional Native American farming practices tell us that squash and beans likely were part of that 1621 dinner too.

Read More Show Less

EcoWatch Daily Newsletter

Former U.S. Sec. of Energy Ernest Moniz listens during the National Clean Energy Summit 9.0 on October 13, 2017 in Las Vegas, Nevada. Isaac Brekken / Getty Images for National Clean Energy Summit

By Jake Johnson

Amid reports that oil industry-friendly former Energy Secretary Ernest Moniz remains under consideration to return to his old post in the incoming Biden administration, a diverse coalition of environmental groups is mobilizing for an "all-out push" to keep Moniz away from the White House and demand a cabinet willing to boldly confront the corporations responsible for the climate emergency.

Read More Show Less

Trending

Climate change can evoke intense feelings, but a conversational approach can help. Reed Kaestner / Getty Images

Anger, anxiety, overwhelm … climate change can evoke intense feelings.


Read More Show Less
A rare North Atlantic right whale is seen off Cape Cod Bay on April 14, 2019 near Provincetown, Massachusetts. Don Emmert / AFP / Getty Images

An extremely rare North Atlantic right whale calf was found dead off the North Carolina coast on Friday.

Read More Show Less
Sprinklers irrigate a field of onions near a Castilian village in Spain. According to a new study, the average farm size in the EU has almost doubled since the 1960s. miguelangelortega / Moment / Getty Images

By Andrea Germanos

A new report released Tuesday details the "shocking" state of global land equality, saying the problem is worse than thought, rising, and "cannot be ignored."

Read More Show Less