How have state & federal policies helped the food system in your community?
NESAWG has been working with sustainable food systems stakeholders across the Northeast to build stronger connections with state agriculture commissioners via the annual gathering of the Northeast Association of State Directors of Agriculture (NEASDA), this June 3-6 in Newport, RI, and the larger National Association of State Directors of Agriculture (NASDA) meeting, happening in the Northeast for the first time in four years, in Hartford, CT, September 9-12 . We’re doing this for two reasons:
State officials have direct control over critical state and federal programs impacting farmers, farmworkers, food insecure families, and the environment, including conservation easements, loans for beginning farmers, SNAP and other USDA nutrition programs, Specialty Crop Block Grants, GAP (good agricultural practices) certification, state-grown/produced marketing programs and certifications, farm to institution initiatives, and ag economic development funding to name a few.
State officials are powerful influencers of federal decision-makers, including Members of Congress and USDA officials. The more aware these officials are about what’s working and what’s needed to increase food access, food justice, and the viability of Northeast farm, fishing and food enterprises, the better equipped they will be to champion sustainable farm and food systems community programs and policies.
At this year’s NASDA and NEASDA meetings, we will have direct opportunities to engage with State Agriculture Officials, and share examples of how federal and state programs have improved the farm and food system in our communities, cities and states.
So, we want YOUR stories! How has a local orchard, dairy, vegetable operation, food business, farm to school program, food hub, fishing enterprise, nutrition education program, food security/access program, urban farm, youth food justice initiative or similar program in your region gotten a boost from a state or federal government program? How have state and federal laws and programs helped, either directly or through initiatives led by NGOs, institutions, agencies, community-based organizations, etc, support farmers, farm workers, young people, seniors, food insecure families, or food entrepreneurs; address environmental issues connected to food production; or spur farm and food related economic development or growth? We want to highlight the power of good food programs and how they help communities and stakeholders in their work to improve the food system in our region. Please include photos if you have them!
NESAWG will compile these stories into a narrative illustrating the power of the sustainable ag and food systems movement in our region to share with NEASDA and NASDA members at their June and September meetings.