January 4, 2011
The National Sustainable Agriculture Coalition is very excited to announce a new round of Strategic Initiative Grant (SIG) awards that will build our coalition’s grassroots strength for the 2012 Agriculture Appropriations and Farm Bill Campaigns.
NSAC thinks the best way to achieve long-term food and farm policy change is to build the capacity of its grassroots member organizations to shape public policy. Our members meaningfully engage and inform farmers, rural advocates, and food activists in their region and give them the tools they need to participate in the policy making process.
SIGs are targeted mini-grants made only to NSAC member organizations to support projects that advance our priority policy objectives. Grants are used to support a variety of grassroots actions from holding in district meetings with policy makers, to holding farmer listening sessions or for strategic media work. SIG grantees also share their results with NSAC staff and all of the other NSAC organizations.
This round of SIG awards will support engaging farmers and other stakeholders with policy makers and the media to advance NSAC’s 2012 Farm Bill and FY 2012 appropriations priorities. SIGs also support participation of sustainable and organic farmers in the USDA’s Natural Resource Conservation Service State Technical Committees.
Fall 2010 SIG Grantees and Projects
Farmers Market Coalition: to empower its grassroots network of farmers’ market managers, producers, and state farmer’ market associations in support of the Farmers Market Promotion Program. The FMPP increases farmer-to-consumer direct marketing by providing grants for the development, improvement, and expansion of farmers’ markets, roadside stands, community-supported agriculture programs, and other direct marketing opportunities. The 2008 Farm Bill mandates that at least 10 percent of funds must be used to assist food stamp recipient’s access to farmers’ markets, CSA’s, and roadside stands. The Farmers Market Coalition will utilize their SIG grant to build relationships with key House and Senate Agriculture Committee members through in-district meetings and Hill visits.
Georgia Organics: to identify, train, and empower farmers to interface with key policy makers in Georgia on NSAC Farm Bill priorities, that relate to organic and sustainable production, and urge continued support. Components of the project will include farmers and lawmakers meeting in an office visit, as well as an on-farm visit, and development of a tool kit to educate and encourage farmer/citizen action on the next Farm Bill.
Illinois Stewardship Alliance: to support the development of a statewide policy advisory committee of farmers, consumers, and others stakeholders in food and farm policy processes both on a state and national level. The grant will provide the funds to organize in-district meetings between stakeholders and policy makers, produce educational materials, and garner input and discussion around the Farm Bill priorities. The organization will focus particularly on farmers’ markets, local food system development, specialty crops, and conservation programs.
Michigan Land Use Institute (MLUI): to build northwest Michigan’s Farm Bill organizing capacity by gathering input from farmers and related food system stakeholders, and cultivating five or more leaders from among this group. MLUI will host an in district tour and meetings with Senator Stabenow, Chair of the Senate Agriculture Committee, and Representative Dave Camp, Chair of the House Ways & Means Committee.
Nebraska Wildlife Federation: to host workshops to gather input and educate farmers, ranchers, and conservation professionals about the wildlife benefits of the Conservation Stewardship Program (CSP). These workshops will identify and cultivate spokespeople for the CSP, and educate farmers, media, and congressional staff on the benefits of the program.
Northeast Sustainable Agriculture Working Group (NESAWG): to advocate for sustainable farm policies in the next Farm Bill, engage new organizations and individuals currently in the NESAWSG network in appropriations advocacy in New York and Maine. NESAWG will utilize action alerts, social networking, and organizing in district meetings to advance the Beginning Farmer and Rancher Individual Development Accounts Program, Sustainable Agriculture Research and Education Program, Organic Transition Program, federal farm credit programs, and the Value-Added Producer Grant Program.
Northwest Coalition for Alternatives to Pesticides (NCAP): to ensure representation of organic farmers at the Idaho Natural Resource Conservation Service (NRCS) State Technical Committees annual meeting. It’s crucial for organic farmers to have a seat at the table at NRCS meetings, as they set the rules for which farming practices are supported, and how programs are implemented. NCAP will also ensure organic farmer participation in the newly created organic/small acreage subcommittee to review practice standards and payment schedules.