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Challenges in obesity, diet related diseases, hunger, rising energy costs, a growing population, dwindling water supplies and a changing climate require our attention, and it is our responsibility to lead the way for an advanced 21st century food supply." — California Department of Food & Agriculture
 
Keeping Farmers on the Land
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Improving market opportunities and infrastructure

We're identifying the opportunities and barriers through demonstration projects to expand infrastructure and market opportunities to improve farm viability through local and regional food systems.

Bay Area Agricultural Sustainability Initiative Enters New Phase

A recent grant from the California Coastal Conservancy will enable AFT’s Bay Area Agricultural Sustainability Initiative to take the next step in promoting a more robust regional agriculture and food system. It was awarded to AFT for the purpose of conducting a feasibility study of and business plan for a regional agricultural economic development finance corporation that would attract and strategically deploy investment capital to promote increased supply of and demand for locally-produced food.

 

Farm to Institution New York State

Farm to Institution New York State (FINYS) is a statewide partnership of agricultural, public health and economic development partners who have come together to strengthen New York's regional food economy and improve the health of its citizens. FINY's goal is to tackle systemic barriers to increasing the volume of food produced in New York that is served in public and private institutions, including colleges, schools, hospitals, emergency food providers and senior centers.

 

Governor Cuomo Signs Food Metrics Bill into Law

Governor Cuomo signs Food Metrics Bill into Law. The new law requires state agencies to establish a robust food purchasing, trackin and reporting system that will provide baseline data about money being spent on food and the geographic source of such food and lays the groundwork to encourage state institutions to buy more food grown on farms in New York.

 

Harvesting Opportunities in New York 2013 Conference Inspires and Educates

Last month, at American Farmland Trust's Harvesting Opportunities in New York Confernece over 200 participants gathered to focus on issues surrounding local farm and food economies and farmland conservation. It was an exciting day of great speakers, standing-room-only workshops and delicious food and drink, along with much high-spirited networking.

Farmer and son feed a dairy cowNew Report: New England Milkshed Assessment

New England’s 1,700 milk-producing farms anchor the region’s agricultural land base and economy.  As New England strives to create a more resilient food system, grow profitable farm and food enterprises and retain its working farms and forests, new research from the New England Milkshed Assessment sheds light on the health and future of this keystone sector.

 

Man carrying VegetablesLearn More About the Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA)

To help stakeholders understand the potential impact of the FSMA, American Farmland Trust recently joined the Conservation Law Foundation, Food Solutions New England, Massachusetts Farm Bureau Federation, New England Farmers Union, Northeast Sustainable Agriculture Working Group, Rhode Island Division of Agriculture, UMass Extension, and University of Rhode Island in hosting a webinar for New England food producers, buyers, and those working toward a resilient New England food system.  The webinar focused on two rules that have recently been released by the Food and Drug Administration—the Standards for the Growing, Packing, Harvesting and Holding of Produce for Human Consumption (the “produce” rule), which addresses farm practices, and the Current Good Manufacturing Practice and Hazard Analysis and Risk-Based Preventive Controls for Human Food (the “preventive controls” rule), which governs facilities that manufacture, process, pack or hold food. 

 

Urban Sprwal on FarmlandSustaining Agriculture in Urbanizing Counties
Led by Dick Esseks at the University of Nebraska, we conducted a study that identified what it takes to create viable agriculture in areas facing substantial development pressures.  The report features detailed county case studies that include chapters on farmland protection, marketing, production inputs and the outlook for the future.


farmer-and-carrott-picking.pngRegional Project Seeks to Foster Supportive Public Policy Environment

A vibrant and viable food system in New England requires a supportive public policy environment. For this reason, American Farmland Trust is teaming up with the Conservation Law Foundation and the Northeast Sustainable Agriculture Working Group to identify the policy levers that will support improved farm profitability, expanded food production and the agricultural infrastructure needed to improve regional food resiliency. Drawing upon expertise and experience of leaders and practitioners across New England, this two-year project will focus on federal, state and regional policy arenas, analyzing policy barriers and gaps in five key areas and recommending where change is most needed, at what level and scale, and what kinds of advocacy might be most effective.

 

LettuceFood Policy Council, Massachusetts
We continue to work with a group of food, farm and conservation stakeholders to create a Massachusetts Food Policy Council.  The council would work to advance several food system goals including increased production, sales and consumption of Massachusetts-grown foods and to train, retain and recruit farmers and provide for the continued economic viability of local food production, processing and distribution.


Burlington, New JerseyA Fresh Outlook at the Urban-Rural Interface in New Jersey

Burlington County, New Jersey, has one of the state’s strongest agricultural economies, along with a nationally recognized farmland preservation program.  Our team of experts is helping the county’s farmland preservation program turn the challenges of high land values and conflicts at the urban-rural interface into opportunities for direct marketing, value-added products and a vibrant local food and farming system.


San FranciscoUrban Rural Roundtable

In San Francisco, a blue ribbon committee of city and agricultural leaders convened by Mayor Gavin Newsom outlined five important steps the mayor should take to encourage greater production and consumption of sustainably grown local food. The five initiatives were selected from dozens proposed and debated during a year-long process organized by Roots of Change, American Farmland Trust and other local leaders.

Connecticut Planning GuideGiving Local Officials a Hand

Our regional staff in Connecticut is providing technical assistance to six communities to help them create plans to support local farms and farmland. As part of this effort, we are helping them implement strategies discussed in the new Planning for Agriculture: A Guide for Connecticut Municipalities. Also see:
- Farmland Information Center: Connecticut
- Our Publications






 


 
American Farmland Trust