Local FARMS Act Feeds Rural Communities
Local FARMS Act feeds rural communities
Lyons, Nebraska – Today, the Local Food and Regional Market Supply Act (The Local FARMS Act) was introduced in Congress by Sen. Sherrod Brown (D-OH), and Reps. Chellie Pingree (D-ME), Sean Patrick Maloney (D-NY), and Jeff Fortenberry (R-NE).
Through investment in programs and policies that spur economic development, the act prioritizes the development of new markets for farmers and expands healthy food access for American families.
The Center for Rural Affairs has long supported local foods as an economic development tool in rural communities, working with community leaders to build healthy, sustainable, local food systems.
“Where our food comes from matters – for our health, for the vitality of our communities, for our wallets, and for the environment,” said Anna Johnson, Center policy associate. “One of our goals is to connect the local people who grow and make food with the local people who eat it.”
Staff members at the Center work to connect farmers and consumers through community food systems and farm to school projects, providing workshops, webinars, and technical support.
“The 2018 farm bill should include programs and resources to support producers who want to diversify their operations by connecting them with growing opportunities in local and regional marketplaces,” Johnson said. “Investment in infrastructure and support for local farmers boosts rural economies.”
Findings from the Agricultural Census in 2007 and 2012 show that farmers who market food directly to consumers have a greater chance of remaining in business than similarly sized farms that market through traditional channels.
In 2015, more than 167,000 U.S. farms produced and sold food locally through food hubs and other intermediaries, direct farmer-to-consumer marketing, or direct farm to retail. Those sales resulted in $8.7 billion in revenue for local producers.
“We stand with the Congressional sponsors of this legislation in calling for this critical investment in our food and farm future,” said Johnson. “The Local FARMS Act should be included in the 2018 farm bill.”
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Established in 1973, the Center for Rural Affairs is a private, non-profit organization working to strengthen small businesses, family farms and ranches, and rural communities through action oriented programs addressing social, economic, and environmental issues.