Can the Farm Bill Support Our Growing Local Food Systems?

Photo via Institute for Agriculture and Trade Policy (

Yes, according to the Institute for Agriculture and Trade Policy in Everyone at the Table: Local Foods and the Farm Bill. While the Farm Bill has developed to support industrial commodity-based agriculture, primarily through subsidies, research, and crop insurance, there is still hope for our “specialty crops” – the fruits and vegetables that we love and the farmers markets, CSAs, and small farmers who help provide them for us. Here are the six ways that the IATP hopes to continue to expand the developments made in the 2008 Farm Bill. IATP recommends that the 2012 Farm Bill should build on those steps by:

  1. Increasing funding to the Community Food Projects (CFP) program and other vehicles that expand the access to healthy, nutritious food in minority and under-served communities;
  2. Providing increased flexibility to school districts and other institutions to purchase locally grown foods for school lunch and other meal programs;
  3. Expanding incentives for healthy eating through SNAP and other federal nutrition programs;
  4. Increasing funding to USDA Rural Development grant and loan programs to support the development of local food system infrastructure development;
  5. Ensuring that Farm Bill program benefits are made available to fruit and vegetable growers and other farmers who produce for local markets; and,
  6. Redirecting agricultural research and extension efforts to assist producers and rural businesses in meeting the challenges of local food system development.

Read the entire post, What’s at stake in the 2012 Farm Bill?

This is the latest in a series of regular updates on the development of the next Farm Bill which will be provided by Judith Belasco, Director of Programs at Hazon. If you are interested in writing about your work on the Farm Bill, please be in touch.

Further reading:

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