Agriculture and Nutrition Policy
They say all politics are local, but when it comes to agriculture our national policy often drives the bigger issues. If you are interested in becoming more involved in policy work focusing on agriculture I would suggest the following resources, if you are local to Southeastern Massachusetts I would invite you to contact me to learn more about local efforts.
- Local – Voices for a Healthy Southcoast – To advocate for policy, practice, and environmental change that builds and sustains health among those who live, work, and attend school on the SouthCoast. Voices for a Healthy SouthCoast will focus in three areas: better nutrition, increased physical activity and cessation of tobacco products.
- Local – Massachusetts Agricultural Commissions – Ag. commissions are becoming increasingly common in the state. Dartmouth was one of the first communities in the state to start an agricultural commission. Upcoming – The Massachusetts Agricultural Commissions’ Conference will be held March 20, 2010 in Worcester, MA.
- Local – The Southeastern Massachusetts Council on Sustainability – Food & Agriculture working group includes a focus on policy work in their efforts.
- State – The Massachusetts Food Policy Alliance was recently formed to help build a “vibrant and sustainable food system for all people of the commonwealth”
- State – The Massachusetts Public Health Association recently announced their Act FRESH Campaign which includes a campaign to pass the Local Farm Products Bill and Food Policy Council Bill.
- Regionally – The Northeast Sustainable Agriculture Working Group (NESAWG) is working to develop regional solutions and sustainable food systems.
- Regionally – Tufts University’s Friedman School of Nutrition Science and Policy
- Nationally – The National Sustainable Agriculture Coalition is one of the strongest voices for sane and sustainable agriculture policy. Their blog, Something to Crow About, is a great resource for keeping up to date with ag. policy in Washington and throughout the country.
- Nationally – There are two significant pieces of legislation that dramatically impact agricultural policy. One is the Farm Bill, which is generally passed every 5 years and will next be up for reauthorization in 2012. The Childhood Nutrition and WIC Reauthorization Act which is was due for reauthorization in 2009 was finally updated in late 2010. The One Tray Campaign is one of the many resources focusing on improving school lunches.
- Nationally – The Community Food Security Association (CFSC) continues to be a leader in food justice work and the Institute for Agriculture and Trade Policy (IATP) has a wealth of resources.
Work focusing on Hunger Relief and Nutrition…
- Sharing the Harvest and the Dartmouth YMCA – growing and donating fresh produce to local organizations.
- The Hunger Commission of Southeastern Massachusetts (a project of the United Way)
- Project Bread sponsors a Walk for Hunger every May in Boston.
- The Food Research and Action Center is one of the groups working on a national level.