by Lindsay Troyer, Food and Farm Policy Community Action Team member and Policy Coordinator, Slow Food USA
Slow Food USA nurtures food justice through being a weaver of communities, a disruptor of injustice, a builder of relationships and a storyteller of our diverse foodways. This month, we’re going to explore each of those roles we play. As Disruptors, we inspire bold action.
Since the last Farm Bill, the landscape upon which we eat and grow food has significantly changed. The COVID-19 pandemic illuminated the production crisis we have created for ourselves without strong regional food production systems. The pandemic also showed the nation just how severe and widespread hunger is (and has been for a long time), especially in school-aged children. The effects of the climate crisis have only gotten worse with extreme weather events, high crop losses and drought in higher occurrences — resulting in environmental harm and the decrease in secure access, availability and quality of food.
As a member of the Slow Food USA Food and Farm Policy Community Action Team, I joined dozens of other organizations in Boulder, CO for the National Sustainable Agriculture Coalition (NSAC) Summer Meeting session this past summer. This summit focused on the Farm Bill and our roles in influencing better food and farm policy. NSAC planned over three days and nights of content-packed plenary sessions, multiple farm tours, social events and activities for us policy advocates to learn, engage and grow our understanding of the Farm Bill — and to be clear on exactly what was at stake.
The NSAC policy team provided us members with an amazing space to dive deeper into these main policy priorities via drafts of multiple marker bills of food policy change. Marker bills help develop a policy agenda, create relationships with congressional supporters, engage grassroots advocates and community members to get excited about policy change and then hopefully, will end up as policy in the final Farm Bill.
And the marker bill policy priorities were clear: we need to advocate for climate-focused policy in the Agriculture Resilience Act, policy aiming to protect and strengthen local and regional food systems as found in Strengthening Local Processing Act, Local Farms and Food Act and the Fresh Produce Procurement Reform Act, and support and protect farmers by passing farm safety nets that include lending programs, fair credit and crop insurance for smaller producers.
Gathering with NSAC and these other policy advocates and experts from around the country was extremely empowering and exactly the energy boost I personally needed to get over the next couple months of Farm Bill unknowns. Here are some of the ways you can get engaged in the Farm Bill:
Find your elected officials and make your voice heard!
Follow the link below to fill in your info and find out who represents you. Email or call their office and show your support for climate smart policy, strengthening local and regional food systems and protecting small farms!
Host a policy discussion, meeting, letter-writing campaign or in-district event!
Connect with one of our local chapters to join other folks in your community looking to get more involved in food and farm policy. Every voice matters and we are stronger together.
Stay in touch!
Follow all of our social media pages and our policy page to see what our Food and Farm Policy Action Committee is working on and to stay up-to-date on all things Farm Bill.