Local & Regional Food Systems


Support Local Farmers, Celebrate National Farmers Market Week

August 8, 2016

Editor’s Note: To kick off National Farmers Market Week, the National Sustainable Agriculture Coalition (NSAC) is excited to present this guest post from our member organization, the Farmers Market Coalition. National Farmers Market Week is from August 7-13, but many farmers’ markets go year round, so get out there and “shake the hand that feeds […]

Upcoming Webinar on the Newly Expanded Farm Storage Facility Loan Program

August 5, 2016

The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA)’s Farm Service Agency (FSA) is hosting a webinar on Tuesday, August 9 at 2:00pm EDT to provide information about the Farm Storage Facility Loan program and the expansions and improvements that have been made to it over the past two years. Register for the webinar here. Farm Storage Facility […]

Direct-marketing Farms have Double the Regional Economic Impact

August 3, 2016

Editor’s Note: In honor of the upcoming National Farmers Market Week, the National Sustainable Agriculture Coalition (NSAC) is proud to present this guest blog from Dr. Shermain Hardesty, Small Farm Program Leader the University of California (UC) Small Farm Program and Cooperative Extension Economist in the Department of Agricultural & Resource Economics at UC Davis. […]

Have Access Improvements to the Federal Crop Insurance Program Gone Far Enough?

July 28, 2016

If you’re an onion farmer in Louisiana or a blueberry farmer in Iowa, the answer is most likely – no. The Federal Crop Insurance Program has gone through a host of changes since 2000 (the last time Congress passed a major stand-alone overhaul of the program), including several as part of the 2014 Farm Bill, […]

Micro-Lending Can Do Big Things for Small Food Businesses

July 5, 2016

Access to capital is a barrier many small-scale food entrepreneurs face when attempting to enter into a highly consolidated market. In many cases, new entrepreneurs do not have the necessary credit to qualify for traditional lending structures, making it nearly impossible to open new ventures. Fortunately, organizations like the Feed the Hunger Foundation provide micro-loans […]

Value-Added Grant Proposals Due Soon!

June 13, 2016

Whether helping farmers turn organic grains into shelf-ready items or providing capital for the creation of farm-identity preserved regional supply chains, the Value-Added Producer Grant (VAPG) program has served as a valuable resource for farmers looking to grow their businesses through value-added products. Back in April, the U.S. Department of Agriculture announced the availability of $44 million in funding […]

USDA Awards $16.8 Million to Increase Healthy Food Access for Low-Income Americans

June 9, 2016

Eating a nutritious diet is the cornerstone of any healthy lifestyle, but for many Americans healthy foods may seem hopelessly out of reach. The Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) bridges the gap between lower-income families, but benefit levels are low and make purchase of nutritionally important items like fresh fruits and vegetables difficult. The Food […]

New Rules for USDA Local Food Enterprise Loans

June 7, 2016

  Access to capital is important for all small businesses, including the food and farm businesses that bring locally and regionally produced food into rural communities, schools, and markets. Fortunately, there is a federal loan guarantee program, the Business and Industry (B&I) Loan Guarantee Program, which specifically supports these types of local entrepreneurs. Qualified projects […]

House Passes Controversial Child Nutrition Reauthorization Amidst Growing Opposition

May 20, 2016

Eight months after the last iteration of the Child Nutrition Act expired, the House Education and Workforce Committee this week advanced a controversial Child Nutrition Act Reauthorization (CNR) out of committee. After several hours of discussion and 31 proposed amendments, the “Improving Child Nutrition and Education Act of 2016” (H.R. 5003) passed by a 20 […]

Upcoming Deadlines for Federal Food and Farm Programs

May 16, 2016

Editor’s Note: ‘Tis the season for federal program deadlines. In our ongoing effort to keep readers appraised of upcoming opportunities, we are issuing a revised list of program application information. As warmer weather settles in, farmers are busy planting crops, livestock are grazing on pasture, and farmers markets across the country are once again full […]

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