locally sourced foods. Brewster works with Lucy Norris, project manager for the Puget Sound Food Network, which creates opportunities beyond farmers’ markets for local area farmers to con- nect with regional processors, distribu- tors and end users, including Seattle Public Schools.
Hands in the Dirt Regardless of occupation, many people feel a natural urge to work with the soil and witness the miracle of seeds sprouting new life. Rose Hayden- Smith, Ph.D., a garden historian and a designated leader in sustainable food systems at the University of California– Davis, points out that home, school, community and workplace victory gardens established during World War II succeeded in producing about 40 percent of our nation’s vegetables. In both world wars, she says, our na- tional leadership “recognized that food and health were vital national security issues.” They still are today.
Melinda Hemmelgarn, a.k.a. the Food Sleuth (FoodSleuth@gmail.com
), is a registered dietitian and award-winning writer and radio host, based in Colum- bia, Missouri. She co-created F.A.R.M.: Food, Art, Revolution Media – a Focus on Photography to Re-vitalize Agri- culture and Strengthen Democracy to increase advocacy for organic farmers (Enduring-Image.blogspot.com
). Learn more at Food Sleuth Radio at kopn.org
How to Grow and Find Local Food
Find a farmers’ market ams.usda.gov/farmersmarkets
In season in the region; local harvest calendars and markets FieldToPlate.com/guide.php
Locate sustainably grown food nearby LocalHarvest.org
Food gardening tips KitchenGardeners.org
2012 Farm Bill Update by Melinda Hemmelgarn T
he single piece of legislation known as the Farm Bill currently contains $90 billion in taxpayer funding and significantly affects farming, con- servation, energy and the quality and price of the food on our plates. When the bill comes up for renewal every five years, the public has a chance to voice support for a greener, healthier, more sustainable food and farm- ing system. Sign up for Farm Bill updates and action alerts from the National Sustainable Agriculture Coalition (website below), and talk with members of Congress about concerns. Marydale DeBor, who works to improve food quality in Connecticut, rec- ommends that citizens align with farm advocacy organizations. “Advocacy is the single most important need now, around the Farm Bill and state policies,” she says.
Did you know? n Most Farm Bill dollars support food assistance programs, namely food
stamps or the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), our nation’s largest safety net against hunger. In 2012, SNAP is projected to consume 75 percent of the total Farm Bill budget.
n Most SNAP benefits are spent in supermarkets and convenience stores. SNAP can be used at farmers’ markets, but only by those that accept electron- ic benefits transfer (EBT) cards. In 2011, SNAP’s $11 million of the program’s total $71 billion benefits were redeemed at farmers’ markets nationwide, directly benefiting local farmers.
n Crop insurance is the second-largest Farm Bill budget item.
n The majority of subsidy payments go to large farms producing corn, cot- ton, wheat, rice and soybeans, which helps explain why soda is cheaper than 100 percent fruit juice, and corn-fed feedlot beef costs less than or- ganic, grass-fed beef.
n An improved Farm Bill would provide participation incentives for conserva- tion, beginning farmers, local food economies and organic agriculture, and better align agriculture with public health.
Learn more about the 2012 Farm Bill at: Environmental Working Group and EWG Action Fund ewg.org
Food Fight: The Citizen’s Guide to the Next Food and Farm Bill, by Daniel Imhoff WatershedMedia.org/foodfight_overview.html
Institute for Agriculture and Trade Policy iatp.org
National Sustainable Agriculture Coalition SustainableAgriculture.net
18 Central Arkansas Edition/Little Rock
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