Protecting our Health, Protecting Farmers, Winners of the Farmers Market Contest, Clean Energy Summits and More

American Farmland Trust
American Farmland Trust

E-News September 1, 2009

Welcome to the August issue of E-news. Read on to find examples and news from around the country on farmland protection programs and policy; projects, which promote local food and protect local farms; and good ideas on how to support farm operations through smart climate policy; and more!

The Road Ahead: Clean Energy Legislation in the Senate

Boy with Wind Turbines
We are hosting Agriculture and Clean Energy Summits across the country to talk about the economic opportunities for agriculture and to prepare for the Senate’s upcoming work on this developing legislation. Clean Energy legislation can put into motion new mechanisms for limiting pollution while also providing a greener economy in which environmental stewardship is a valued commodity. Rural America in particular has much to gain from clean energy legislation as it holds opportunities for farmers to secure new streams of income by powering U.S. homes with wind power and sequestering carbon through techniques such as no-till production

Protecting our Health, Protecting our Farmers

Hoop House
On July 30th the House passed the Food Safety Enhancement Act of 2009. The Act is intended to strengthen the safety of the nation’s food by granting the Food and Drug Administration greater authority over food inspection and recalls. President Obama has praised the legislation and it now moves to the Senate for further debate. We agree that safe and healthy food is important and should be a high priority for members of congress; however we also are concerned about ensuring that our nation's farms and ranches, especially smaller scale local growers, are treated fairly. While some protections were included for local farmers, according to National Sustainable Agriculture Coalition, several areas must be strengthened.

And the Winners Are. . .

Buying Tomatoes at Collingswood Farmers Market
Viereck Farms selling
tomatoes - Collingswood
Farmers' Market
Just shy of 30,000 voters turned out for the inaugural America’s Favorite Farmers Markets contest to voice their support for 842 local farmers markets across the nation. Our winners Davis Farmers Market in California, Williamsburg Farmers Market in Virginia and Collingswood Farmers Market in New Jerseyare gearing up for the final event that includes a free “No Farms No Food” grocery tote give away. Be sure to check out the top twenty list in each of the categories to see who got the most votes in the 2009 contest. Farmers markets represent one of the great ways that consumers can support their local farmers, farmland, communities, and regional economies. 

Around the Country

American Farmland Trust board member, Betsy Fink, will demonstrate best practices on her farm in Wilton, Connecticut, through the Millstone Farm On-Farm Workshop on August 31st. 

A Climate Conference in North Dakota shows that the state has much to gain from clean energy legislation. [Audio Clip]

California’s Ag Vision is engaging leaders and experts in agriculture and related fields to address economic, food safety, environmental and other pressing issues confronting growers and the agricultural sector.

A website was launched in the Chesapeake Bay region, designed to increase government transparency and expand public participation in President Obama’s Executive Order on Chesapeake Bay Protection and Restoration.

Win a trip to the Farm Aid concert in Missouri by submitting your best farm and food photographs to Farm Aid's photo contest.

Have a good idea of how to design a revolutionary way to connect farms and food? Now is your chance to share it through a farmers market design contest sponsored by GOOD, The Architect’s Newspaper, The Urban & Environmental Policy Institute, and The Los Angeles Good Food Network.

USDA’s Natural Resources Conservation Service announced continuous sign-up for the revamped Conservation Stewardship Program (CSP) with the first sign-up period cutoff scheduled for September 30. CSP encourages farmers and foresters to maintain existing conservation activities and adopt additional practices on their operations.

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