Now that November has come to an end, it’s hard to forget the ruckus Congress stirred up in the food and farming world—some of it good and some of it bad. Organizations and lawmakers from all ends of the spectrum made sure to voice opinions about how the government should be involved in food and farming. From introducing legislation to help local food economies, to attempting to cut food stamps as part of the Super Committee process, November saw a lot of folks weighing on the future of our food system. Many of you weighed in too, by endorsing our Recipe for Change.
November began with the release of Representative Chellie Pingree and Senator Sherrod Brown’s Local Farms, Food, and Jobs Act. Two days later, the National Sustainable Agriculture Committee (NSAC) hosted a farmer fly-in, bringing over 50 farmers, advocates, and scientists from across the country to Washington DC to show support for the bill.
Alex Loud, a fly-in participant and Slow Food Boston chapter leader, describes why the Act is an important step for rebuilding the economy:
Small farms are a growing and increasingly important part of the American economy and the American food system. The Federal government is not doing enough to support them–and indeed in some cases is even hindering their growth. The Local Farms, Food and Jobs Act will, if enacted, start to change this.
The legislation addresses issues from across the board – including rural development, reforms to nutrition assistance programs that will allow food purchase at farmers markets, and boosts to programs that support farmers struggling to obtain a USDA certified organic status.
What more could we ask for than the introduction of a bill like the Local Farms, Food, and Jobs Act? How about 13,000 supporters of Slow Food USA’s Recipe for Change! Introduced at the end of October on Food Day, the Recipe for Change continued to accumulate signatures in the two weeks leading up to November 17th when names were hand delivered by us to each of the Super Committee member’s DC offices.
In the end, the Super Committee failed to come up with a deficit reduction plan by their November 23rd deadline. This does not mean, however, that your voices were not heard or that the message of the Recipe for Change will not be important for the next big obstacle to come – the 2012 Food and Farm Bill.
November may be over but the fight for better food and farming policy is just beginning. Follow the developing Food and Farm Bill campaigns of these organizations to stay in touch with what is going on and learn how you can get involved:
Environmental Working Group
Food Democracy Now
Bread for the World
Food and Water Watch
Institute for Agriculture and Trade Policy