March 7, 2023
For Immediate Release
Contact: Laura Zaks
National Sustainable Agriculture Coalition
Washington, DC, Tuesday, March 7, 2023 — Today, hundreds of farmers and food and farm systems advocates gathered for the Farmers for Climate Action: Rally for Resilience, part of a mass mobilization calling on lawmakers to prioritize climate solutions in the 2023 Farm Bill. Participants hailed from 40 US states and 2 territories.
“After months of collaboration, I’m so proud of the spectacular rally and march today! It was beautiful to see hundreds of fellow farmers raise their voices to ask for action on climate in the farm bill. The climate crisis is an everyday reality for us as farmers and it is powerfully important to bring our stories to the ears of our lawmakers. I hope we got their attention, and that they will listen closely during tomorrow’s lobby day,” said Ariana Taylor-Stanley, NSAC Grassroots Co-Director and owner/operator at Here We Are Farm in Trumansburg, NY.
The rally kicked off in Freedom Plaza with a roster of speakers including Chili Yazzie, David Senter, Marielena Vega, Angela Dawson, Norysell Massanet, Julieta Saucedo, Yadi Wang, Yanely Martinez, Claudia Lenz, and Helga Garcia-Garza, who shared personal stories of how the climate crisis affects their livelihoods and communities. They also spoke about how sustainable agricultural practices help mitigate climate change and urged Congress to include critical support for Black, Indigenous and people of color (BIPOC) producers in the upcoming 2023 Farm Bill. Ray Jeffers served as the rally’s Master of Ceremonies. Jeffers is the owner and operator of B.R. Jeffers Farm, a century farm in Roxboro, NC. He is the Farmers of Color Network Director at RAFI-USA and was recently elected to the state House of Representatives in North Carolina.
Live performers included Shirlette Ammons, Lil Idli and John Mellencamp, a Farm Aid co-founder and board member who headlined. Legendary musician and farmer advocate Willie Nelson also shared a video message next to a fully electric tractor provided by Solectrac and one of the original tractors that appeared in the 1979 tractorade to Washington. As the rally concluded, participants took to the streets, marching from Freedom Plaza to Capitol Hill to call on members of Congress to ensure that the next farm bill reflects real, inclusive, and systematic change.
“As a Black urban grower, I care very much about the access that other prospective growers have to land in the urban core to grow their own food. I believe that a thriving, successful food system is one that empowers folks to create change within their own communities. It is critical that the “little guys” are seen as an important part of the food system and are supported by legislation, funding, and land access to help facilitate their involvement in local food production and distribution,” noted Alana Henry of Young Family Farm in Kansas City, Missouri.
While the past year has seen significant investments to incentivize climate-friendly agriculture, necessary on-the-ground change requires further policy shifts. The next farm bill needs to explicitly empower farmers to address climate change, by providing resources, assistance, and incentives that will allow them to lead the way in implementing proven climate solutions.
“Our country’s farmers and farmworkers feed the entire world, and they are at the frontlines of the climate movement. Bringing farmers in from across the country to tell their stories, share ideas and connect directly with lawmakers is the most powerful way we can make significant and transformative change in the 2023 Farm Bill,” said Ranjani Prabhakar, Senior Legislative Representative at Earthjustice.
Tomorrow, Wednesday, March 8, a press conference focusing on farmer stories will be held at Lutheran Church of the Reformation, 212 East Capitol St NE, starting at 9:00am. Congressman Ro Khanna (D-CA) will speak along with Union of Concerned Scientists President Johanna Chao Kreilick. Later on Wednesday, farmers and advocates head to more than 100 meetings with Congressional offices on Capitol Hill to emphasize the need for a farm bill that invests in farmer-led climate solutions, advances racial justice, and prioritizes communities over corporations.
“We are thinking about the heritage of our farm, we go back six or seven generations. We are concerned about young farmers being able to make a living in farming and about bringing younger farmers into farming, where they can get loans or accessing financing. Younger people cannot quit their jobs to make a living in farming,” shared Seth Blackwell of Blackwell’s Farm in Reidsville, North Carolina.
The Rally for Resilience was made possible by the generous support of the 11th Hour Foundation, Ben and Jerry’s, Regenerative Agriculture Foundation, Carhartt, Mercy for Animals, Sustainable Agriculture and Food Systems Funders, Patagonia, Solectrac, Earthjustice, Climate Reality Project, Patagonia Workwear, Farm Aid, and the National Sustainable Agriculture Coalition.
About the National Sustainable Agriculture Coalition (NSAC)The National Sustainable Agriculture Coalition is a grassroots alliance that advocates for federal policy reform supporting the long-term social, economic, and environmental sustainability of agriculture, natural resources, and rural communities. Learn more and get involved at: https://sustainableagriculture.net
Categories: Farm Bill, Press Releases
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