Bringing Sustainable Ag Stories to the Annual NEASDA Meeting – and Getting Some In Return

by Tracy Lerman

Last month, I joined a delegation of sustainable farm and food advocates who attended the Northeast Association of State Department of Agriculture’s annual meeting, held in Newport, Rhode Island. The meeting brought together agriculture commissioners from nine Northeastern states – Maine, Vermont, New Hampshire, Rhode Island, Massachusetts, Connecticut, New York, New Jersey, and Delaware – to discuss issues they believe are critical to our region’s farm and food systems.

Rhode Island is proud of their commitment to local and regional food systems, and we learned about Relish Rhody, the state’s food strategy, focused on keeping Rhode Island food producers viable, ensuring food security for all state residents, and minimizing food waste. We also visited Hope and Main, a non-profit culinary business incubator focused on supporting early-stage food entrepreneurs and growing the local economy. Sustainable agriculture advocates had the opportunity to raise awareness of sustainable agriculture initiatives in other Northeastern states that support farmers, local economies, and vulnerable populations directly with commissioners and their staff. We put together a collection of stories showcasing some of these initiatives from around the NEASDA region (which many of you submitted or helped us collect!)

This September, NESAWG will be attending the National Association of State Department of Agriculture’s annual meeting, coming to Hartford, CT, for the first time in four years. We’re excited to demonstrate the many ways our region’s food system can feed people, steward the environment, and support family farmers. Stay tuned!