Local & Regional Food Systems


Farm to School Bill Introduced in Senate

March 17, 2010

Senator Patrick Leahy (D-VT) today introduced the Growing Farm to School Programs Act (S. 3123),  a popular proposal to authorize $50 million to USDA to provide start-up funds to communities across the country linking farmers and ranchers to the school lunch program.  Senator Leahy’s bill  is designed to improve the quality of school lunches while […]

Vilsack and Merrigan At Senate Agricultural Appropriations Hearing

March 10, 2010

Appropriations season is in full swing in Washington, and appropriators are deciding which programs to fund and which to cut. Hearings on funding levels for 2011 are occurring almost daily, as the House and Senate Appropriations Committees begin the annual process that generally results in markups in late spring, floor votes in the summer, and […]

The Atlantic Forum Tackles Food Safety

March 8, 2010

Has the FDA’s experiment with self-policing failed?  This was the question posed by Marc Ambinder, Politics Editor at The Atlantic, at the Food Summit hosted by The Atlantic Monthly on March 4.  Ambinder noted that until the spinach, pet food, and baby formula scares in 2006, 2007, and 2008, funding for the FDA during the […]

Farmers Market Grant Opportunity Announced

March 1, 2010

USDA published a notice of $5 million in grant funds available through the Farmers Market Promotion Program (FMPP) in today’s March 1 edition of the Federal Register.  NSAC and the Wallace Center developed this program and NSAC championed it in the 2002 Farm Bill. FMPP grants vary in size from $2,500 to $100,000 and do […]

New Farm to School Bill in House

March 1, 2010

On Friday, February 26, Representative Rush Holt (D-NJ) introduced the Farm to School Improvements Act of 2010 (HR 4710), which would provide the USDA with $10 million a year for a competitive grants program to fund projects linking producers with the school lunch program.  The proposed legislation’s goal is to improve nutrition in schools while […]

Grant Opportunity: Community Outreach and Assistance for Risk Management

March 1, 2010

Today’s federal register announced the availability of $2.5 million in grants for the Risk Management Agency’s (RMA) Community Outreach and Assistance Partnership Program and $1.1 million for Commodity Partnerships for Small Agricultural Risk Management Education Sessions. The Community Outreach and Assistance Partnership Program targets limited resource, socially disadvantaged and other traditionally underserved producers with training, […]

House Ag Appropriation Hearings kick off with questions for Vilsack

February 25, 2010

Yesterday’s hearing before the House Appropriations Subcommittee on Agriculture kicked off the annual ag appropriations cycle with a round of questions for Secretary Vilsack on the USDA’s budget proposals for 2011.  Members covered a wide swath of issues, and specifically addressed a number of programs of interest to NSAC members, including the Biomass Crop Assistance […]

Delayed, not diminished: Vilsack on Child Nutrition priorities, including Farm to School

February 25, 2010

After being postponed for two weeks by the blizzard that shut down the capitol, USDA Secretary Vilsack outlined the Administration’s priorities for the Child Nutrition Act reauthorization yesterday at a speech at the National Press Club in Washington, D.C.  The Child Nutrition Act includes authorization for the National School Breakfast and Lunch Programs, summer food, […]

Policy Considerations in Revitalizing Local and Regional Food Systems

February 23, 2010

Last week, Ferd Hoefner, NSAC’s Policy Director, addressed an audience at the USDA Agricultural Outlook Forum 2010 with an assessment of the policy opportunities and barriers to strengthening local and regional food systems. The USDA’s increasing focus on connecting farmers with local and regional markets for their products is evident in cross-cutting initiatives like Know […]

Peterson and Vilsack endorse local and regional food at Home Grown

February 19, 2010

More than 200 people braved chilling western Minnesota February weather on Monday and Tuesday to hear House Agriculture Committee Chairman Rep. Collin Peterson and USDA Secretary Vilsack speak about the need to develop better local food systems at the Home Grown Economy conference at Southwest Minnesota State University in Marshall.  At least another 100 participants […]

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