Posted on February 27th, 2012. Filed under News.
Today, FMC wants call your attention to two marker bills in Congress relevant to farmers markets that could be included in the Farm Bill.
As you know, producers are responding to skyrocketing demand for local food by increasing production, creating new markets, and launching new businesses. Locally marketed foods accounted for an estimated $4.8 billion in gross sales in 2008, while the number of farmers markets nationwide jumped 17 percent in 2011. Despite these growing opportunities, producers face significant infrastructure, marketing, and information barriers that limit growth in local agriculture. The Local Farms, Food, and Jobs Act (S. 1773, H.R. 3286) , written by Representative Chellie Pingree and co-sponsored by Senator Sherrod Brown (and co-sponsored by 78 other legislators), seeks to improve dozens of federal farm bill programs that support local and regional farmers and food systems.
What will LFFJA do for farmers markets?
This bill’s total investment of less than one-sixth of one percent of USDA’s budget would address the needs of a large and growing sector of American agriculture as well as boost community economies. A one pager is available on FMC’s web site here.
The Expanding Access to Farmers Markets Act (S. 1593), sponsored by Senator Gillibrand (NY) is more targeted than the Local Farms, Food and Jobs Act, and would:
A one-page fact-sheet about the bill is available on the FMC web site here.
Both of these bills take bold steps to advance farmers markets but they won’t become part of the Farm Bill without your support. You can help by:
1) Adding your organization as a supporter of both bills. To add your organizational support for the Local Farms, Food, and Jobs Act, please enter your information into the form here. To add your organization as a sign-on supporter of the Expanding Access to Farmers Market Act, please send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org with your complete contact information.
2) Tell your Senators and Representatives that you support these important and forward-thinking pieces of legislation and invite them to join as a cosponsor. You can find out if they’ve already signed on here. Then, you can reach out in less than 5 minutes in a short phone call or an email by finding your Senators here and Representatives here.
Attached are two one-page summaries of these bills. Feel free to send them to your legislators as well as farmers market colleagues.
We appreciate all that you have done already in to help us put farmers markets on the agenda of policy makers. Thank you for your support of the Farmers Market Coalition, and for helping communicate in your community about the important roles farmers markets serve for urban and rural communities alike.
Your friends at the Farmers Market Coalition