The Natural Sustainable Agriculture Coalition (NSAC) has recently put out the Agenda for the 2018 Farm Bill Covering many of the areas of concern I have had for some time and have written about for nearly two years now.
The National Sustainable Agriculture Coalition (NSAC) is an grassroots organizations that advocates for federal policy reform to advance the sustainability of agriculture, food systems, natural resources, and rural communities. It engages legislators and administrative agencies in Washington, DC and works to build the NSAC member organizations and carry out effective organizing and outreach work in their state and region. Together, working to reform and construct policies and programs that:
• Create income opportunity and fairness for small and mid-sized family farms
• Reward agricultural practices that conserve our soil, water, wildlife habitat, and energy resources
• Facilitate the entry of beginning farmers into the profession of farming
• Encourage new and existing farmers to transition to sustainable and organic production practices
• Invest in cutting-edge research and extension for sustainable and organic agriculture
• Expand small and mid-sized farm operator access to new local and regional food markets
• Increase consumer access to sustainably produced foods
• Promote public health in the context of federal farm policy
I like what I see in the first few pages and if the TRUE intent of this is to re-localize the human food growth and distribution. They discuss the Farm to Fork, like it’s something new, a 21st century concept, which may sound to many a millennial and younger, urban or uneducated. I would like to take it a step further as they also reference the rural aspect, to elongate the meaning and definition like Family, Farm to Fork, which includes the communities and the families that build the barns, buy the tools, start the seeds, pull the weeds, prepare the soil and tend the plants, harvest and offer the literal fruits (and vegetables) of their labor.
As I read further (pg. 12 or 128), I have to disagree with letting Congress determine how they spend the Farm Bill funding. If you have been reading my blogs, you will recall, I believe we have states that have very specific and categorized farm lands, both plant and animal. We also have free people living in those states that elect officials to look out for our interests. And we look after them. Point being, we should allow our state elected officials to have a close relationship to the families and communities that can and want to grow, sustain and feed their neighbors. They will also have to make the hard decisions to stop the ongoing negligent actions and poor economic business decisions that lead some farmers to be annually dependent on the farm bill subsidies and relief. Rebuild and restore the water and land that feeds us. Store up for when difficult times arise, and help a neighbor when we thrive or have excess when they have not.
Well a 116 pages left to review, skim and dive into the Farm Bill Platform. I have hope and pessimistic optimism. Thanks waiting (for you, my few though gracious readers) for reading and believing we can and should do better for us all.