Friday, January 27, 2012

Food Policy Week: Federal Legislation

At Lettuce Link, we combat hunger and injustice by building community, supporting gardeners, and donating to the emergency food system. Donations are necessary - but so is lasting, systemic change.

We need to enact just policies around food, farming, and government assistance to people living in poverty. So, while the garden is put to bed for the winter, please join us in getting your voice heard.

U.S. Congress: Looking Ahead to the Farm Bill 
Loyal blog readers will recall our series last year about the Farm Bill - the collection of federal laws that establish the general direction for America’s farm and food policy.

Two exciting 'marker bills' are currently cycling through Congress that could positively contribute to the next Farm Bill.

Marker bills are legislation written to show support for certain issues, but generally don't ever make it out of committee for a vote on the Senate or House floors. Their purpose is to develop support (such as a legislator co-sponsoring the bill) for the specific measures within these bills, which then have a better chance of making their way into a larger bill (in this case, the Farm Bill). Clear as mud, right? The two we're following closely are:
1) The Local Food, Jobs, and Opportunity Act (S.1773) offers a variety of small policy changes (around conservation, crop insurance, technical assistance, etc.) to assist farmers and ranchers engaged in local and regional agriculture. The bill also assists consumers by improving access to locally grown healthy food and direct and retail markets. Please share your thoughts with Senator Patty Murray about this bill.

2) The Community Agriculture Development and Jobs Act (HR 3225). This bill offers technical, financial and marketing support for urban agriculture and farmers' markets and works to eliminate food deserts by expanding the Senior Farmers Market Nutrition Program. If you are in Washington's 7th congressional district, contact Representative Jim McDermott and share your thoughts about the bill.
For more information about the Farm Bill and how you can get involved, check out the Northwest Farm Bill Action Group.

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