Local & Regional Food Systems


USDA Releases Request for Applications for AFRI Competitive Grants

March 26, 2010

This week, USDA’s National Institute of Food and Agriculture (formerly, the Cooperative State Research, Education, and Extension Service) released the long-anticipated 2010 Request for Applications (RFAs) for the Agriculture and Food Research Initiative (AFRI).  Significantly overhauled and with more funding to award than ever, the AFRI RFAs define a substantive portion of USDA’s research agenda, […]

USDA Women and Working Lands Panel and Discussion

March 26, 2010

March is National Women’s History month, making yesterday (March 25) a fitting date for the USDA “Women and Working Lands: Past, Present, Future” forum held at the USDA headquarters in Washington, D.C.  The forum celebrated the hard work and achievements of women farmers, ranchers and foresters across the nation, and was moderated by USDA Deputy […]

Senate Agriculture Committee Reports Child Nutrition Bill: Farm to School Included; Conservation Cuts Major Point of Contention

March 24, 2010

On Wednesday, March 24, the Senate Agriculture Committee approved the child nutrition reauthorization bill (Healthy Hunger-Free Kids’ Act of 2010) by unanimous consent. The bill increases spending on nutrition programs by $4.5 billion over the next ten years and includes several important school meal program improvements including improved access, nutritional standards, and per meal federal […]

Senate Child Nutrition Bill Includes Agreement on “Competitive Foods”

March 22, 2010

On Wednesday the Senate Agriculture Committee will mark up Senator Lincoln’s Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act of 2010, the proposed legislation to reauthorize child nutrition programs including school meals and the Women, Infants and Children’s (WIC) nutrition program.  The bill includes new national nutritional standards to be applied to all foods sold in school, including food […]

Lincoln Introduces Child Nutrition Bill for Markup

March 17, 2010

This morning, Senate Agriculture Committee Chair Blanche Lincoln (D-AR) unveiled her “markup vehicle” for Child Nutrition Act reauthorization and scheduled Committee markup of her draft bill for next Wednesday, March 24.  The proposal is titled “Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act of 2010.” Farm to School would receive just $25 million in the current Lincoln draft.  However, […]

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 […]

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