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Helen Dombalis National League of Cities March 13, 2012 Turning the Food Desert into an Oasis: Prospects for Improving Food Access and Public Health through.

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Presentation on theme: "Helen Dombalis National League of Cities March 13, 2012 Turning the Food Desert into an Oasis: Prospects for Improving Food Access and Public Health through."— Presentation transcript:

1 Helen Dombalis National League of Cities March 13, 2012 Turning the Food Desert into an Oasis: Prospects for Improving Food Access and Public Health through Federal Policy

2 Who we are and what we do  The National Sustainable Agriculture Coalition (NSAC) is an alliance of grassroots organizations that advocates for federal policy reform to advance the sustainability of agriculture, food systems, natural resources, and rural communities.  More than 90 member organizations  Policy and grassroots work  Issue committees including Marketing, Food Systems, and Rural Development

3 Farm Bill Basics  Massive piece of legislation  Written by the House and Senate Agriculture Committees  Reauthorized every 5-7 years  Up for reauthorization in 2012

4 2008 Farm Bill: 15 “Titles”  I: Commodity  II: Conservation  III: Trade  IV: Nutrition  V: Credit  VI: Rural Development  VII: Research  VIII: Forestry  IX: Energy  X: Horticulture and Organic  XI: Livestock  XII: Crop Insurance  XIII: Commodity Futures  XIV: Miscellaneous  XV: Trade and Tax Provisions

5 2008 Farm Bill spending: $284 billion total for 5 years  $189 billion: SNAP (food stamps) and nutrition programs  $41 billion: Commodity programs  $22 billion: Crop insurance  $24 billion: Conservation programs  $8 billion for all else  Organic programs, including research, etc. received under $0.5 billion total

6 Local Farms, Food, and Jobs Act (S. 1773, H.R. 3286)  Introduced Nov. 1, 2011 by Sen. Sherrod Brown (D-OH) and Rep. Chellie Pingree (D-ME-1)  A “marker bill” spanning 10 Farm Bill Titles and including 35 provisions  Currently has 11 Senate and 68 House co-sponsors  Over 260 organizations currently endorsing the bill

7 Local and Regional Food Systems  Skyrocketing consumer demand for local food that agricultural producers and entrepreneurs are striving to meet  Despite these opportunities, significant infrastructure, marketing, and information barriers are limiting growth  The Local Farms, Food, and Jobs Act will:  Create economic opportunities for farmers and ranchers  Improve processing and distribution infrastructure  Expand access to healthy food for consumers  Provide research, training, and information that will ensure success for local food entrepreneurs

8 Local Food and Urban Communities  Production of locally marketed food is more likely to occur on small farms located in or near metropolitan counties  Urban-rural linkages  Food deserts  Urban agriculture  Expanding USDA Rural Development programs

9 Title IV: Nutrition  Improving SNAP participant access to farmers markets, CSAs, and other direct marketing outlets by creating a level playing field for electronic benefit transfer (EBT)  Improving SNAP Education and Outreach by encouraging states to use direct marketing outlets as a venue for nutrition education activities  Funding the Senior Farmers Market Nutrition Program at $25 million a year  Providing $10 million for the Community Food Projects program  Allowing schools the option to use a portion of their AMS school lunch commodity dollars or DoD Fresh program dollars for the purchase of local and regional foods  Encouraging States to include community-supported agriculture programs as eligible to participate in the Farmers Market Nutrition Program

10 Title VI: Rural Development  Increasing the Business and Industry (B&I) guaranteed loan program funding set-aside for local and regionally produced agriculture products and food enterprises and provide authority for non-rural areas for local food enterprises, including production, processing, distribution, marketing, and retail enterprises  Providing authority for local and regional food system funding (“food hubs”) under Rural Business Opportunity Grants, Rural Business Enterprise Grants, and Community Facility Grants & Loans  Funding Value-Added Producer Grants at an annual amount $30 million and expanding the program to include food hubs and outreach to underserved states and communities

11 Title X: Horticulture and Organic Agriculture  Establish and fund a Local Marketing Promotion Program – Farmers Market Promotion Program plus “scaled up” activities like aggregation, processing, storage, marketing, and distributiojn  Increase funding for Specialty Crop Block Grants and ensure a portion of the projects serve local and regional markets

12 Other pieces of legislation  Beginning Farmer and Rancher Opportunity Act of 2011 (S. 1850, H.R. 3236)  Expanding Access to Farmers Markets Act (S. 1593)  Healthy Food Financing Initiative (S. 1926, H.R. 3535)  Community-Supported Agriculture Promotion Act (S. 1414, H.R. 4012)  Community Agriculture Development and Jobs Act (H.R. 3225)  Growing opportunities for Agriculture and Responding to Markets Act of 2011 (S. 1888) – “GO FARM”  Fresh Regional Eating for Schools and Health Act of 2011 (S. 2016) – “FRESH Act”  Rep. Fudge’s forthcoming urban agriculture bill

13 Child Nutrition Reauthorization  Omnibus legislation reauthorized about every five years: Healthy, Hunger- Free Kids Act of 2010  Includes a new Farm to School competitive grants program, for which $5 million in mandatory annual funding will begin October 1, 2012 USDA Fresh Produce Pilot Program  Michigan and Florida  To explore alternatives to Department of Defense (DoD) Fresh program Farm to Cafeteria Conference, August 2-5 in Burlington, Vermont Farm to School

14 For more information Helen Dombalis Policy Associate, NSAC


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