Local Farms, Food & Jobs: Farm Bill UpdateThu 01 Mar 2012
Story by The Food Revolution Team & Environmental Working Group
Take Action Now To Get the Farm Bill On A Better Track
2012 is the year of the Food & Farm Bill, and it brings a big opportunity to make fresh, local, food more accessible to all families and in all of our schools.
As we’ve explained, the “Farm Bill” is the most important law determining what America eats. We say it should be called 'The Food and Farm, Bill' because its many sections dictate how we grow food, how we support farmers, how we sell food, and what food assistance programs are available to all Americans.
The heated discussion about the Food & Farm Bill happens only once every five years. Farm bill hearings have just started, and members of Congress, along with food advocates, are putting down 'markers' for the types of reforms necessary to create a food system that match the values of the Food Revolution. So the time to start paying attention and taking action is now!
“The Local Farms, Food, and Jobs Act” is one proposal on the table that’s meant to influence the conversation. It’s a package of reforms that would strengthen local and regional food systems from farm to table, including increasing the amount of local food purchased by our schools.
These kind of changes would help eaters (that’s all of us!) by improving access to healthy food. It would also help farmers and ranchers meet the growing demand for local and regional food by providing critical support for production, processing, marketing, and distribution.
In order to send a loud clear message that we want this bill to become part of the bigger Farm Bill, we are partnering with the Environmental Working Group to urge Congress to support the bill. We want to help get as many co-sponsors on the legislation as possible, since the more co-sponsors we get, the better chance there is that the final farm bill will support local, sustainable food. Don’t wait – tell your senators and representative in Congress to support this bill today.
Click here to email your members of Congress today to urge them to support the Local Farm, Food and Jobs Act.
Among other things, the Local Farm and Food bill will:
• Reduce blockages to institutional purchasing, better linking farms directly with schools, hospitals, and other institutions.
• Create a “local food credit” program so schools can use up to 15% of their federal commodity dollars (under the National School Lunch Program) to buy local food, lowering barriers that make it harder for schools to access local food.
• Invest in critical infrastructure that would enable farmers and food businesses to aggregate, store and distribute their products.
• Increase food safety training and technical assistance resources for small and mid-sized farming operations as well as small slaughterhouses.
It would also bolster marketing and promotion for farmers markets; grow the program that helps Seniors access farmers markets; improve access for SNAP (Food Stamp) participants to farmers markets and CSAs; and expand nutrition education.
These proposals bring fresh, local food closer to kid’s mouths, in the process helping farmers, schools, and families.
By urging your member of Congress to support The Local Farms, Food, and Jobs Act, you can help get our Food & Farm Bill on the right track for 2012.
Thank you for taking important action to make our food system better for everyone!
The Food Revolution Team & Environmental Working Group (EWG)
Read more about the Farm Bill and The Local Farm, Foods and Jobs Act .
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