Keep up with the latest policy news, USDA Funding Announcements, and food systems happenings in the Northeast.
Founded in 2004 to serve African immigrants and refugees, the African Alliance of Rhode Island (AARI) offers a variety of community health, nutrition, food security, urban agriculture, and other programs and services to low-income families of all nationalities and ethnicities in some of Providence’s poorest neighborhoods. Since 2009, AARI has focused on urban agriculture projects that help low-income families increase food security and earn income. From 2015-17, AARI received support and funds from) Rhode Island’s Local Agriculture and Sea Act (LASA) program to expand its growing space and build greenhouses, and from Paul used his work with the Viability Program to secure grants for farm infrastructure, including funding from the VAPG, and a conventional bank loan to purchase land. USDA’s Value-Added Producer Grant (VAPG) to conduct market feasibility studies for value-added products. Today AARI growers supply a variety of African vegetables along with New England staples to their farmer’s market customers. (You can learn more about AARI in this NESAWG feature.)
New England farmers age 65 and older manage 1.4 million acres of land and hold $6.45 billion in agricultural assets. Over ninety percent of them do not have a farm operator under 45 working with them. How their land will transfer and to whom will have a significant impact on the future of the region’s farms and farmers. A 2016 Beginning Farmer and Rancher Development Program (BFRDP) grant allowed Land For Good, a New England-based nonprofit specializing in farm access and transfer, to continue its Land Access Project (LAP) which tackled farm access, succession and transfer through a comprehensive, systems approach. LAP Phase 2 brought together over 40 collaborating organizations, agencies and individual experts across New England.
Northeast farmers, food entrepreneurs, community-based organizations, and researchers are using federal agriculture and food systems programs, many of which leverage innovative state programs, to create economic opportunities for farms and food businesses, improve consumer access to healthy food, help new entry and next generation farmers succeed, revive rural economies, and foster innovation. Despite the positive impact these federal programs have sparked, our region had to advocate for their inclusion the the recent Farm Bill reauthorization. With support from these programs, Northeast farmers and food entrepreneurs meet consumers’ ever-evolving tastes, diversify market channels, steward the environment, and sustain economic viability. As the following stories illustrate, ensuring that these programs continue and are fully funded is critical to sustaining an agricultural sector that creates jobs, generates economic activity in each of our states, and ensures a thriving agriculture future for our entire region.
Why you should care about the National Association of State Departments of Agriculture?
ORGANIZING FOR IMMIGRANT JUSTICE AND A JUST FOOD SYSTEM IN VERMONT WITH MIGRANT JUSTICE An interview with Migrant Justice’s Campaign Coordinator, Abel Luna
Winnie Huston is the Community Advocacy Coordinator for DC Greens, a food justice non-profit in Washington, DC. Learn more about her journey, her work, and the challenges of food insecurity in our nation's capitol.
Fishing Partnership Support Services (FP) is a nonprofit company in Massachusetts that has been improving the health, safety, and economic security of fishing families for over 20 years. Food producers, including fishermen, deserve our support. Fishermen are critical to our local economy. For example, seven-thousand Massachusetts fishermen form the foundation of a multi-billion-dollar seafood industry that supports over 90,000 workers. Furthermore, the future looks bright for the industry. The Bureau of Labor Statistics projects that the fishing industry will grow by 11% by 2026 - compared to 7% for all occupations.
Tess Brown-Lavoie owns and farms in Rhode Island at Sidewalk Ends Farm. She is also a member of the Justice and Agriculture working group, which is part of a broader local agriculture community organized under the Young Farmer Network, works on policy and programs related to agricultural lands as the RI Field Agent at Land For Good, and serves as the President of the National Young Farmer Coalition. Learn more about the challenges and solutions she is addressing locally and nationally, in her own words.
Learn the results from our 2018 network policy survey
This year's It Takes a Region will be held in Jersey City, NJ, on November 7th, 8th, 9th. Are you interested in shaping the conference to meet specific needs of the food system? Join the 2019 Conference Planning Committee! Email your expression of interest, including briefly why you would like to join the CPC, to [email protected] by March 4th. Conference Planning Committee members are expected to: Attend 1 monthly Zoom call of approximately 1 hour between March - November Complete follow-up tasks between meetings (approximately ½ hour to 1 hour per month) related to promoting the Request for Proposals and reviewing submissions, planning pre-conferences, promoting the conference to your network, and strategizing on conference programming Conference Planning Committee members in good standing (attendance at 7 of 9 monthly meetings and successful completion of tasks) will receive: Listing as a Committee member with a bio and photo on the conference website Opportunity to shape conference program to meet specific needs of their area of the food system Free registration A full travel scholarships for those who require it to attend Got questions or want to apply? Email [email protected]