Nature at its Best: Virginia Farmers Named AFT’s 2007 Stewards of the Land
Sandy and Rossie Fisher of Brookview Farm in Manakin-Sabot, Virginia, have received AFT’s 2007 Steward of the Land Award for their leadership in farmland protection and environmental stewardship. The Fishers, who sell grass-fed beef and organic eggs to local chefs, groceries and at their on-farm store, combine on-farm innovation with their love and respect for the land. The farm’s composting operation, for instance, turns municipal yard waste into a profitable organic fertilizer for Brookview Farm and neighboring farmers. AFT’s Steward of the Land Award honors an American farm or farm family who represents dedication to conservation, leadership in the community and a deep commitment to the land that sustains us all.
The stage has been set for the 2007 Farm Bill, and it’s time to turn priorities into programs—protecting working farms and ranches from sprawl, making local foods more available, encouraging healthy diets and ending hunger in America. Listen to AFT's briefing on Capitol Hill about aligning these priorities with the priorities of Congress.
Thriving Farms, Just an Hour from the City
As residential development progresses farther out from city centers, urban edge farms increasingly face challenges to stay afloat. Communities that care about local food and farmland realize they must “get ahead of the curve” and help local agriculture to thrive. American Farmland Trust recently developed a framework to sustain and enhance agriculture in the fertile Suisun Valley, located less than an hour’s drive from San Francisco. The Agricultural Vision and Economic Innovation for Suisun Valley, part of the Solano County General Plan update process, reflects input from farmer listening sessions and includes case studies of successful approaches from other communities. “The AFT report has given us a vision and the strength to overcome the impediments before us,” said Bob Hansen, a farmer and general manager for the Suisun Valley Fruit Growers Association.
Congress Is Talking About Your Food…Join the Discussion
The new “Congress Is Talking About Your Food” brochure and Web site are designed to educate and engage consumers in the 2007 Farm Bill debate. “The farm bill is one of the most significant pieces of legislation that Congress will enact this year,” says AFT President Ralph Grossi. “It affects how taxpayers’ money will be spent on farm and food programs that influence everything from what’s available in grocery stores and who is eligible for food stamps to what farmers grow and how farmers take care of our environment.”
Around the Country
Landmark legislation was recently introduced in New York to create a Working Farmland Tax Credit.
The Connecticut General Assembly overwhelmingly approved a measure that will dramatically improve the state funding process for the purchase of development rights on prime farmland.
The Washington Conservation Incentives Project celebrates its first success, but there is still much work to be done.
A new Purdue University, Indiana, survey shows overwhelming support for programs to protect farmland and open space.
The Maryland region’s first farmers’ market that focuses on minority and immigrant farmers and accepts food stamps opened recently.
AFT, Clyde’s Restaurant Group and the Slow Food Network sponsored a “Farm and Food Bill” roundtable event in Washington, D.C.: Putting Food Back in the Farm Bill. Listen to what the keynotes had to say about our current food system and the future of the farm bill.
The House Agriculture Committee Subcommittees' recent mark-up of the farm bill's conservation, research, energy, and credit titles included reform of and additional funding for the Farm and Ranch Land Protection Program (FRPP). Full Committee mark-up is expected before July 4th. Stay tuned for more information.