Tuesday, May 22, 2007

2007 Farm Bill

Now is the time as congress decides what to do with our farm bill for a few more years for EVERYONE to weigh in. Don't know much about farming? That's o.k. Contact your representatives and tell them you expect them to help support small and local farmers since that is one sure way to supply ourselves with safe food. Tell them to quit giving our tax payer money to CAFOs (confined animal feeding operations). CAFOs destroy our water, foul the air around the area they are in, and are inhumane and disgusting.

Here is some more information that comes through PASA (Pennsylvania association for sustainable agriculture). By the way: PASA has a very nice sight and offers classes throughout most of the year. They also send a nifty little newsletter to keep you up to date on "wutz happnin" The rest is directly taken from the email:

First, if you are interested in knowing more about the Farm Bill, and specifically some of the positions being taken by the sustainable ag community, you can find a wealth of information at the following website:

www.farmandfoodproject.org


This site details a comprehensive set of policy objectives that were developed over the past couple years by some of our policy partners across the country. It has been endorsed by over 400 organizations, including our own board of directors at a meeting earlier this year. You can also find some information there about how you can get more involved in the ongoing process.

However, a very quick and easy way to get involved it so go to another website, as follows:

www.healthyfarmbill.org

We encourage you to go to this site and follow the simple instructions there for sending a letter to your representatives in Congress...the whole process will take you about 5 minutes! The letter condenses many of the most important points of the Farm and Food Policy Project statement into a convenient format. As you can tell, the emphasis in this case is to generate a large volume of mail in favor of the general policy agenda, so we also encourage you to send a note about this website to your friends and associates who would be interested. It is hoped that the largest impact of this approach will be realized this week and next.

For those of you with an inclination to get more personally involved -- especially you farmers -- we have an excellent option as well. PASA's good friend Kathy Lawrence, who formerly directed the National Campaign for Sustainable Agriculture, is now working with the Community Food Security Coalition on a national Healthy Food and Community Initiative. In a nutshell, the initiative is pushing for a package that includes:

1. Seed funds to support innovative projects that increase profitability for farmers and increase access to healthy foods for under- served markets.

2. Changes in procurement policy to make local purchase easier for school districts and other institutions.

3. Support for distribution (e.g. transportation, processing and marketing) of healthy foods to new markets in ways that ensure maximum return on the food dollar to the farmer.

Kathy is looking for farmers who are interested in these types of policy tools, and would be willing to call their Senators and Representatives to promote these initiatives during the 2007 Farm Bill process. She would be happy to get you more information on these three priority areas, and to talk with farmers about how she can assist you with background info, talking points and timing details so you can weigh-in during this critical phase of Farm Bill debates.

She knows this is an extremely busy season -- and will be careful to make the most of your limited time and vast knowledge.

If you're interested, please be in touch with Kathy directly at klgardensong@hvc.rr.com or
(845) 361-3205.

The process ahead for determining the next Farm Bill will be long and arduous, and believe me, there's already plenty of shenanigans underway in Washington as part of this process. Simply put, not all of the wealthy interests represented in our nation's capitol want to see local and community-based food systems continue to gain the momentum we have recently enjoyed. Your time and effort to communicate your opinion will be well spent, as we only have this opportunity to make a more significant difference once every five years or so. We at PASA will be careful not to overload you with emails on every minute detail of the process, but we also don't want to miss giving you this opportunity to get as involved as you wish to be.



As always, feel free to contact me or others here in the main office if you have further questions.



Take care,


Brian Snyder
Executive Director, PASA
brian@pasafarming.org
(814) 349-9856

1 comment:

Anthony L. said...

Thanks for letting people know about www.healthyfarmbill.org
We have a real chance this year to get support in the Farm Bill for healthy/fresh/local food issues!
Anthony