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Letter to the Editors of The Washington Post

Letters to the Editor
The Washington Post
1150 15th Street, NW
Washington, D.C. 20071

Congratulations to The Washington Post on an insightful profile of Secretary Tom Vilsack, our nation’s new agricultural chief. Through the articles on February 5 & 11, 2009, your questions revealed the Secretary’s plans on the food, fiber, renewable energy and environmental issues under his jurisdiction and gave the reader a sense of his personal commitment to these issues.

The Secretary highlighted the inclusion of local foods as a priority, and said, “…in a perfect world, everything purchased and consumed would be local,” noting the stresses on the production and distribution capacity to achieve that goal. And, he rightly points out that there is work to be done on strategies, grant programs, loan programs and technical assistance to address the obstacles.

At American Farmland Trust, we couldn’t agree more that locally grown foods and a strong local agriculture system are key to creating a new green economy. Through our Growing Local campaign we encourage smart growth and work to protect green infrastructure as well as other strategies to increase the production capacity and infrastructure needed to supply local food.

Across the country there’s lots of enthusiasm for “buying local” and investing local resources to revitalize our communities. It’s time to establish a national agenda to tie these activities together to achieve the systemic change needed to ensure healthy farms, healthy food and healthy communities for a greener American future.

Julia Freedgood
Managing Director, Growing Local Campaign
American Farmland Trust
1 Short St., STE 2
Northampton, MA 01060


American Farmland Trust is the nation's leading conservation organization dedicated to protecting farmland, promoting sound farming practices and keeping farmers on the land. Since its founding in 1980 by a group of farmers and citizens concerned about the rapid loss of farmland to development, AFT has helped save millions of acres of farmland from development and led the way for the adoption of conservation practices on millions more.

AFT's national office is located in Washington, DC. Phone: 202-331-7300. For more information, visit www.farmland.org.

American Farmland Trust