Oryana may/june 2012 : Page 1

Natural Food News May-June 2012 • 231.947.0191 • oryana.coop • 260 East Tenth St. (at Lake Ave.), Traverse City, MI Farm Bill Underway B y P atty C antrell , r egional F ood S olutionS Michigan Voices Needed resh local tomatoes in June? Such to play in making sure the 2012 Farm Bill culinary lusciousness, and early income retains and improves support for healthy from it for Michigan farms, is part of what local and regional food systems, including our federal tax dollars have achieved since SNAP (food stamp) purchases of fresh and 2008 when Congress passed the most local products, farm-to-school programs, recent Farm Bill. Nearly 200 urban and rural beginning and organic farmer assistance, and food producers in Michigan added season-soil and water conservation. extending passive solar greenhouses, or The hoop houses, 2012 Farm to their “Michigan voices are needed to ensure the Bill process operations next five-year Farm Bill puts taxpayer money is more thanks to complicated where it can do the most good for families, a relatively and tiny set of confusing communities, and the environment.” grants related than usual ~ Lindsay Scalera, Michigan Voices -NSAC to regional because food system of Great development. Recession fiscal pressure in Washington D.C. The total includes 21 in northern Lower Yet major substance and decision-making Michigan and 19 in the Upper Peninsula. moments lie ahead in the process. Now the whole Farm Bill, which “Michigan voices are needed to ensure covered $289 billion worth of food, farm, the next five-year Farm Bill puts taxpayer and rural programs in the 2008 version, money where it can do the most good for is on the table for its five-year review and families, communities, and the environment,” reauthorization. said Lindsey Scalera, grassroots organizer for Michigan voices have a critical part Michigan Voices, a coalition-building project F Loving Dove Farm, Bear Lake, MI of the National Sustainable Agriculture Coalition (NSAC.) For example, a recent Environmental Working Group review of Farm Bill spending from 2008 through 2010 shows that the federal government put more than eight times as much money ($39.4 billion) behind industrial commodity crops — corn, soybeans, cotton, rice, and wheat — as it did on “specialty crops” like fruits, vegetables, and nuts. At the same time, public health statistics show we need more investment in fruits, vegetables, and related nutrition education and assistance, to improve wellness and reduce skyrocketing health care costs. Michigan voters need to make this point and others throughout the coming months. Times for making a big Farm Bill difference include deliberations over the Senate agriculture committee’s draft, which is expected by May; the House agriculture committee’s subsequent work on the Senate draft; conference committee debates after all that; and Congress’ likely need to write a continuation of the current Farm Bill, which expires in September. “Michiganders can get involved by educating our members of Congress about the public health, economic and job creation benefits of local food systems and sustainable rural development,” Scalera said. Senator Stabenow Needs to Hear From You Call Senator Debbie Stabenow 202-224-4822 or send her an email www.stabenow.senate. gov/?p=contact or go to her website: www.stabenow.senate.gov Tell her to support small farmers, farm-to-school programs, beginning and organic farmer assistance, and soil and water conservation. See NSAC’s website for helpful data, background and updates on the 2012 Farm Bill.: sustainableagriculture. net/take-action Patty Cantrell is a community economic development consultant and journalist focused on the power of regional food markets to strengthen local economies, public health, and the environment. Her company Regional Food Solutions LLC provides organizations and businesses with project development, writing, research, and facilitation. Oryana Food Cooperative, Inc. 260 East Tenth Street Traverse City, MI 49686 Presorted Standard U.S. Postage Permit 97 PAID

Farm Bill Underway Michigan Voices Needed

Patty Cantrell

Michigan Voices Needed

Fresh local tomatoes in June? Such culinary lusciousness, and early income from it for Michigan farms, is part of what our federal tax dollars have achieved since 2008 when Congress passed the most recent Farm Bill. Nearly 200 urban and rural food producers in Michigan added seasonextending passive solar greenhouses, or hoop houses, to their operations thanks to a relatively tiny set of grants related to regional food system development. The total includes 21 in northern Lower Michigan and 19 in the Upper Peninsula.

Now the whole Farm Bill, which covered $289 billion worth of food, farm, and rural programs in the 2008 version, is on the table for its five-year review and reauthorization.

Michigan voices have a critical part to play in making sure the 2012 Farm Bill retains and improves support for healthy local and regional food systems, including SNAP (food stamp) purchases of fresh and local products, farm-to-school programs, beginning and organic farmer assistance, and soil and water conservation.

The 2012 Farm Bill process is more complicated and confusing than usual because of Great Recession fiscal pressure in Washington D.C. Yet major substance and decision-making moments lie ahead in the process.

“Michigan voices are needed to ensure the next five-year Farm Bill puts taxpayer money where it can do the most good for families, communities, and the environment,” said Lindsey Scalera, grassroots organizer for Michigan Voices, a coalition-building project of the National Sustainable Agriculture Coalition (NSAC.)

For example, a recent Environmental Working Group review of Farm Bill spending from 2008 through 2010 shows that the federal government put more than eight times as much money ($39.4 billion) behind industrial commodity crops — corn, soybeans, cotton, rice, and wheat — as it did on “specialty crops” like fruits, vegetables, and nuts. At the same time, public health statistics show we need more investment in fruits, vegetables, and related nutrition education and assistance, to improve wellness and reduce skyrocketing health care costs. Michigan voters need to make this point and others throughout the coming months.

Times for making a big Farm Bill difference include deliberations over the Senate agriculture committee’s draft, which is expected by May; the House agriculture committee’s subsequent work on the Senate draft; conference committee debates after all that; and Congress’ likely need to write a continuation of the current Farm Bill, which expires in September.

“Michiganders can get involved by educating our members of Congress about the public health, economic and job creation benefits of local food systems and sustainable rural development,” Scalera said.

Senator Stabenow Needs to Hear From You

Call Senator Debbie Stabenow
202-224-4822 or send her an email www.stabenow.senate. gov/?p=contact or go to her website: www.stabenow.senate.gov

Tell her to support small farmers, farm-to-school programs, beginning and organic farmer assistance, and soil and water conservation.

See NSAC’s website for helpful data, background and updates on the 2012 Farm Bill.: sustainableagriculture.Net/take-action

Patty Cantrell is a community economic development consultant and journalist focused on the power of regional food markets to strengthen local economies, public health, and the environment. Her company Regional Food Solutions LLC provides organizations and businesses with project development, writing, research, and facilitation.

Read the full article at http://digital.zoompubs.com/article/Farm+Bill+Underway+Michigan+Voices+Needed/1048448/109401/article.html.

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