Bounty Bucks for Local Food, Farmers Get a Fair Shake in Climate Legislation, New Farmland Protection Program Sees Agriculture as Key to the Economy

American Farmland Trust
American Farmland Trust

E-News July 17, 2009

Welcome to the July issue of E-news. Read on to find out about examples and news from around the country on farmland protection programs and policy; projects that are protecting local farms by promoting local food; good ideas on how to support farm operations by making smart climate policy; and more!

Stretching the Local Food Dollar

Mother with Child at Farmers Market
Add Boston to the growing list of cities that are taking steps to increase the consumption of locally grown food. The city recently began offering Boston Bounty Bucks: vouchers that double the value of food stamps at more than half of the city’s farmers markets. Atlanta, San Diego and Providence have similar double-voucher programs, which benefit both low-income shoppers and local farmers who sell their products in urban neighborhoods. The city efforts complement new policies and provisions in the 2008 Farm Bill to improve access to farm-fresh fruits and vegetables for seniors, children and low-income residents.

Farmers Get a Fair Shake in Climate Bill

Farmer in Wheat Field

Freshman congressman Frank Kratovil (D-MD) along with Dennis Cardoza ( D-CA) prevailed in their effort to ensure the American Clean Energy and Security Act would not penalize farmers who adopted carbon saving practices early on or through unconventional ways. The Kratovil/Cardoza amendment ensures that farmers who acted ahead of the curve or those that are supplying carbon benefits that are not yet recognized will benefit if the bill is enacted. Their efforts drew praise from farmers and conservationists alike.

What Does It Take for a Farm State to Thrive?

Fence in Farmland at Dusk
When Governor Doyle signed Wisconsin's 2009-2011 budget, he provided full funding for the Working Lands Initiative. This funding will modernize Wisconsin’s 30-year-old Farmland Preservation Program, help farmers purchase agricultural conservation easements, and grant the state’s Department of Agriculture the authority to designate agricultural enterprise areas (see our Campaign for Wisconsin’s Farm and Forest Lands). "It's always a challenge to keep good farmland in production. That's why this program is so important. If we're going to continue to be a thriving farm state, we're going to have to protect our agricultural land,” said Governor Doyle.

Weigh in on Farmland Protection

The Farm and Ranch Lands Protection Program is a key tool in helping states, local governments, organizations and tribes conserve farmland by providing matching funds to protect land with conservation easements. The National Resource Conservation Service is asking for comments on the amended final interim rule. Take this opportunity to have your voice heard—take advantage of the public comment period between now and August 3rd to weigh in on this important program for farmland protection

Around the Country

The Obama Administration is driving down America’s main street on their Rural Tour. Visit the Rural Tour website to see where they will stop next and to share your thoughts about the tour.

California’s San Francisco mayor, Gavin Newsom, released executive directives this month calling for a new take on food in the Bay Area. The mayor’s directives were influenced by the year-long discussion that developed out of the Urban Rural Roundtable.

A Virginia legislator is named "Legislator of the Year" for being a strong proponent of both farmland protection and  the important role farmers can play in protecting the environment

Tomorrow afternoon, farmers and ranchers in Arizona, New Mexico, and Colorado will have a chance to learn more about exciting new opportunities within the proposed climate change legislation. Join in to listen.

Do you have a facebook account? Join our No Farms No Food® cause and recruit your friends for a chance to win a signed Local Flavors cookbook by Deborah Madison.

Get to know top local food and farm experts by viewing video presentations on the Farm Foundation’s website.

At halftime of the Connecticut Suns WNBA game this past Saturday, American Farmland Trust was recognized for helping to successfully restore Connecticut’s public funding for farmland protection, which has protected thousands of acres and helped to ensure that farming remains a part of the state’s landscape and future.

Want to learn more about how farmers can combat climate change? Check out our Farmers Combat Climate Change Tutorial to see our new video explaining the basics.  

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There is just over three more weeks before we announce the winners of our America's Favorite Farmers Markets contest! Winners will be announced at midnight on August 8th, which is the end of National Farmers Market week. Stay tuned next week when we announce a special contest for farmers market customers who want to spread the word!

Correction: Last month’s e-news credited the Leopold Center for Sustainability for working with ANCI on developing Sustainability Standards. The correct organization is the Leonardo Academy.

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