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A Farm Bill Call to Action

April 13, 2012, 10:04 am

If you care about healthy food, clean water, and strong local economies, now is an important time to call U.S. Senator Debbie Stabenow. (Phone # below)

A very small but essential slice of federal support to farms that contribute nutritious, sustainably-produced food to their communities and stimulate economic activity is at significant risk in April as the Senate agriculture committee, which our Michigan senator chairs, carves up the federal Farm Bill.

These programs amount to less than one percent of all farm-related spending in the Farm Bill, just $175 million per year. The small investments, programs promoted collectively through the “Know your Farmer, Know your Food” initiative, hit dead center on the priorities that so many voters have. Programs that help young farmers get started and that ensure minority farmers thrive are important to the future of our country. Programs that encourage growing fruits, vegetables, and other healthy foods, including those produced organically, are important to public health. These programs, and others like them, have also proven to offer high returns on investment for Michigan’s economy.

Yet these valuable programs are the most vulnerable in Farm Bill negotiations dominated by powerful global business interests and Washington D.C.’s budget-cutting frenzy. It’s time for Michigan to stand up and speak for the people, land, and healthy future that these programs support. By advocating for economic development and production of food for local markets, you are advocating for your community.

Call Senator Stabenow today: (202) 224-4822.

Submitted by Patty Cantrell, Regional Food Solutions

More about Patty Cantrell and Regional Food Solutions LLC

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.

Patty is a member of the Michigan Food Policy Council and a 2008-2009 Food and Society Policy Fellow with the Institute for Agriculture and Trade Policy. She brings to her work 12 years of on-the-ground food system project management at the Michigan Land Use Institute, where she led development of a 10-county program. That program includes the region’s Taste the Local Difference marketing campaign, an extensive farm-to-school network, a collaborative farm business education program, and a regional food and farming coalition uniting a broad base of organizations and activities.

She is a 1987 Fulbright Scholar with bachelors of arts degrees in economics and political science from the University of Missouri-Columbia. She received a masters of business administration from Drury College in Springfield, Missouri. In Springfield she also cut her teeth as a business reporter and columnist at the metropolitan daily Springfield News-Leader before applying her business and journalism skills to the nonprofit and public policy sector.

Posted by Patty Cantrell, Regional Food Solutions at 10:04 am
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