Welcome to your February edition of E-news! In this issue, find out what the 2007 Agriculture Census tells us about the farm-to-consumer relationship. Learn what our insiders say about the potential for climate change legislation this spring, get the bird's eye view of a regional food system in Burlington County, and take action for better farm, food and environmental policy in 2009!
Everyone Eats Food from Farms, and in 2007 Many Knew the Farmer Who Made
According to the new 2007 Census of Agriculture, direct farm-to-consumer food sales at farm stands and farmers markets rose 49 percent, and sales of organic foods were significant. These statistics are two of many in the new census that give a comprehensive look at what constitutes U.S. agriculture today. Such market growth offers producers fresh opportunities to stay economically viable, a key factor in helping our farmers keep their land in agriculture. Read our analysis on key statistics related to the amount of land in farms!
A Vision in 2009 for Green Acres and Climate
Growing a Sustainable Farm and Food System in an Urban Edge County
Burlington County, New Jersey is a strong agricultural area in the shadow of Philadelphia whose farms are threatened by development and economic pressures. American Farmland Trust is assisting the county’s farmland preservation program in turning the challenges of high land values and urban-rural conflicts into opportunities for a local farm and food system. First step: transforming a dairy farm into a community agricultural center that includes a farmers market, community supported agriculture farm, community gardens and protected farmland acreage leased to a local sheep farmer. Additionally, discussions are underway for low-income residents and seniors to have access to the farmers market through a token payment plan and farm-friendly ordinances have been drafted for use by townships.
More Action Needed for the 9 in ’09
Last November, we received thousands of votes for better policies on farms, food and the environment. Our federal policy team took your suggestions and crafted the 9 in ’09, and last week your policy recommendations made it to the White House. Over 1,000 supporters sent President Obama the message that agriculture is critical to a healthy environment, national security, and our supply of fresh local food. If you haven’t taken action for the 9 in ’09, please do so now. If you already have, you can still help us grow this campaign until support for agriculture’s role as our provider of food and caretaker of our natural resources is made a top priority. Tell nine friends that we need the 9 in ’09.
Around the Country
A new web-based guide helps citizens and communities across the Northeast understand how they can benefit from the farm bill's programs and help shape its implementation to meet the region's needs.
Minnesota is making commitments to farmland by putting forth House File 21 which would establish a farmland conservation taskforce.
American Farmland Trust’s San Francisco foodshed study asks, "Can San Francisco feed itself from food grown and produced within a 100-mile radius?" The study’s findings will be presented at a reception in Marin County, California, on March 24th.
Missouri introduced a new bill which would establish a Healthy Food Pilot Program to bring fruits and vegetables into low-income neighborhoods.
A recent feasibility study has prompted the Washington State Conservation Commission to develop two conservation market pilot projects by December 2009.
Senate Bill 816 has been introduced in Maryland proposing the formation of a Food and Hunger Policy Council.
If you live in Arizona, New Mexico, Colorado or Utah, be sure to mark April 6 to 8 on your calendar. This year’s Annual Southwest Marketing Network will focus on bringing a “Good Food Network” to the Southwest.
Legislation has been introduced in Illinois to authorize counties to go to referendum to fund a local Purchase of Development Rights program.
The interim final rule for the federal Farm and Ranchland Protection Program has been published and the NRCS is accepting comments until March 17th.