Learn more about the federal, state and local policies that impact our region, and how you can get involved.
In the Hudson Valley region of New York State, Glynwood Center for Regional Food and Farming was able to support accessibility for the farmers in its Hudson Valley CSA Coalition thanks to a USDA Gus Schumacher Nutrition Incentive Program (GusNIP, formerly known as FINI) grant. The funds allowed them to pilot their “CSA is a SNAP” program to address the structural mismatch between Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) and the USDA’s Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP); CSA farmers rely on the cash they receive when members buy in at the start of the season, while SNAP participants receive benefits each month. The program uses GusNIP funding to capitalize a revolving loan fund. The fund allows the Coalition to pre-purchase and subsidize shares from CSA farms that the farms then sell to SNAP users at a 30% discount. The SNAP monies collected by the farms are then earmarked to be returned to the revolving fund at the end of the season.
Before the pandemic, Farm Fresh Rhode Island’s mobile market had exclusively connected wholesale buyers, including restaurants, schools, universities, hospitals, and grocers, to small and mid-sized farmers though an aggregated online order form, where farmers list their wares, set their own prices, and track their sales in real time. Once orders are placed, farmers bring their products to Farm Fresh for aggregation and delivery to customers on the food hub’s delivery trucks.
When the pandemic hit Pittsburgh, PA, Grow Pittsburgh combined a Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) loan with grants from private sources to retain as many employees as possible as they experienced precipitous drops in sales, donations, and the volunteers they rely on.
For farmers Jeff Frank and Kristin Illick of Liberty Gardens in Coopersburg, PA, the pandemic forced them to rethink their already successful business as a wholesaler of salad greens and specialty vegetables to New York City restaurants. Once the pandemic hit, virtually every customer they had shut down overnight. Within just two months, they pivoted their business to an entirely different sales model—selling direct to local consumers in their Lehigh Valley region of northeastern Pennsylvania. They received operating loans through PPP, and EIDL, which were critical in buying them time to adjust and create a new business model while staying afloat. Pennsylvania-based farmer support organization Pasa Sustainable Agriculture has developed an online marketplace to connect growers like Jeff and Kristin to buyers and processors so each individual farm doesn’t need to duplicate efforts. This effort is supported by Pennsylvania’s Agriculture Department’s PA Preferred marketing program.
In Pennsylvania, Governor Wolf’s PA Farm Bill has six funnels to support investment in the state’s agriculture. One funnel is support for urban agriculture, a strong presence in the state and throughout the northeast region. Pennsylvania Horticultural Society was able to bring the Philadelphia Tool Lending Library to fruition with a capital grant from the Pennsylvania Department of Agriculture’s Urban Agriculture Infrastructure Grants Program. PHS collaborated with its local land trust partner, Neighborhood Gardens Trust (NGT), to place the tool library at Glenwood Green Acres, a preserved historic community garden in North Philadelphia with ready access to mass transit, parking, and other amenities.
In March 2020, as the COVID pandemic re-organized the way people shopped, cooked, and socialized, Connecticut officials quickly designated farmers’ markets as “essential businesses” to keep them open during the shut-down. This maintained farmers’ livelihoods, provided fresh food to residents, and offered a sense of normalcy during a turbulent season.
In Lewiston, Maine, Cooperative Development Institute (CDI) supported New Americans Mohamed Abukar, Batula Ismail, Seynab Ali, and Jabril Abdi in founding New Roots Cooperative Farm, the first immigrant-owned cooperative in Maine, with funding from USDA’s Outreach for Socially and Disadvantaged Farmers and Ranchers Program and a USDA Rural Development Socially Disadvantaged Groups Grant, as well as from private philanthropy.
How State and Federal Programs Support Farmers, Fishermen, Food Entrepreneurs, and Consumers in the Northeast
NESAWG'S response to the events that happened on Jan. 6th and our demands (lifted up from the Movement for Black Lives and the Working Families Party).
Guide to navigate food policies post election.