Policy News

Learn more about the federal, state and local policies that impact our region, and how you can get involved.

Jan 02, 2020

Street vendors in NYC face a variety of challenges, and many work together in the Street Vendor Project to address barriers and difficulties. Kele shares with us her experiences as a vendor, and her hopes for the future of vending in the city.

Oct 16, 2019

For the past two years, NESAWG has been facilitating a group of sustainable agriculture stakeholders to have a presence at the National and Northeast Associations of State Departments of Agriculture (NASDA and NEASDA) annual meetings, in order to strengthen relationships between sustainable food systems leaders and state agriculture officials as well as raise awareness about our partners’ work throughout our twelve state region. Among other things, NASDA members (who are all state agriculture officials) take official policy positions that the organization then advocates for in Congress and USDA. Last month, our work with NASDA brought me to their 2019 annual meeting in Albuquerque, New Mexico.

Sep 18, 2019

NESAWG is endorsing the climate strike because solutions to the climate crisis cannot wait. We recognize the interconnectedness of frontline communities, from coastal cities to the heartland, from the old to the young, all of whom are facing unprecedented threats to our homes, communities, and livelihoods.

Jul 30, 2019

An Interview with NYCAMH Clinical Case Manager Patrick O’Hara on the many ways agriculture and healthcare are intimately connected to today's farmers

Jul 17, 2019

Sweet Rowen Farmstead is a grass-based dairy farm in northern Vermont that has used a combination of state and federal resources to grow the business. Owner Paul Lisai milks a herd of Randall Linebacks, a heritage breed, and distributes his creamy, non-homogenized milk and artisan cheeses throughout Vermont.

Jul 17, 2019

When the New York State Greenmarket Regional Food Hub (also known as the Hub) is completed in 2020, farmer Rogelio Batista will be selling his kale there to the numerous processors and retailers that place a premium on buying New York State-grown produce. Batista’s journey from packing lettuce in the fields of Orange County, New York to establishing his own farm business started when he first turned to the New Farmer Development Program (NFDP) at GrowNYC, then a six year-old project funded through the Beginning Farmer and Rancher Development Program (BFRDP), that worked with farmers born in other countries wanting to adapt their skills to the Northeast. After receiving farm business development training, GrowNYC staff supported Batista to secure farmland, navigate the systems of northeast agriculture, and plug into GrowNYC’s network of Greenmarkets, where he first started selling. The NFDP also provided a micro-loan, funded by Heifer International to help Batista get started.

Jul 15, 2019

Created in 2010 under the Pennsylvania Department of Agriculture (PDA), the Pennsylvania Agricultural Surplus System (PASS) serves its state’s farmers and those most in need of access to health food through a program enabling the food industry to safely and efficiently donate, sell or otherwise provide food products to Pennsylvania’s charitable food organizations. PASS funds help to support Pennsylvania’s agricultural industry statewide – making connections between production agriculture and the non-profit sector responsible for making food available to those in need. PASS provides an alternative market for many farmers and food producers in the Commonwealth that currently have no outlet for safe, but somewhat inferior quality product. Without PASS, this product would otherwise be left in the field, be plowed under, or be landfilled. Producers, packers, and processors are reimbursed for costs involved in harvesting, processing, and/or packaging donated product.

Jul 15, 2019

Agriculture and food production are vital to our health, prosperity and culture and connect to virtually all levels of our economic, environmental, social, and policy-making systems. This critical sector is in the midst of a fundamental structural transition in the Northeast worthy of far more attention than is currently afforded to it.

Jul 09, 2019

It's a perilous time for undocumented farmworkers in the United States. Gabriella della Croce, Pioneer Valley Workers Center, breaks down some of the ways they are challenging injustice and building hope in this context.

Jul 09, 2019

Agritourism is an increasingly popular strategy for small-scale farmers to raise farm income, diversify product lines, educate the public about farming, and build strong community engagement. Agriculture census data suggests that U.S. farms annually earn $566.8 million from agritourism activities. To advance agritourism in the Northeast, the USDA Northeast Sustainable Agriculture Research and Education (SARE) program funded a multi-state train-the trainer project from 2011-2015, spearheaded by Rutgers University. A team of extension educators created a train-the-trainer curriculum and supporting educational materials—including fact sheets, a corn maze budgeting tool, farm assessment checklists, and educational videos. Twenty-four service providers at nonprofits, extension, and other organizations used the training and materials in their work with more than 1,680 farmers throughout the region. As a result, 313 farmers made changes to their marketing practices, 207 improved farm safety practices, 190 farmers enhanced liability or risk management strategies, and 126 developed employee training procedures. Thank you to Northeast Sustainable Agriculture Research and Education Program for contributing this story.