Local FARMS Act feeds rural economies

Last week, the Local Food and Regional Market Supply Act (The Local FARMS Act) was introduced in Congress by Sen. Sherrod Brown (D-OH), and Reps. Chellie Pingree (D-ME), Sean Patrick Maloney (D-NY), and Jeff Fortenberry (R-NE).

Through an investment in programs and policies that spur economic development, the act prioritizes the development of new markets for farmers and expanded healthy food access for American families.

The Center for Rural Affairs has long supported local foods as an economic development tool in rural communities, working with community leaders to build healthy, sustainable, local food systems. We support the Local FARMS Act.

Where our food comes from matters – for our health, for the vitality of our communities, for our wallets, and for the environment. One of our goals is to connect the local people who grow and make food with the local people who eat it.

We work to connect farmers and consumers through community food systems and farm to school projects, providing workshops, webinars, and technical support.

The 2018 farm bill should include programs and resources to support producers who want to diversify their operations by connecting them with growing opportunities in local and regional marketplaces. Investment in infrastructure and support for local farmers boosts rural economies.

Findings from the Agricultural Census in 2007 and 2012 show that farmers who market food directly to consumers have a greater chance of remaining in business than similarly sized farms that market through traditional channels.

In 2015, more than 167,000 U.S. farms produced and sold food locally through food hubs and other intermediaries, direct farmer-to-consumer marketing, or direct farm to retail. Those sales resulted in $8.7 billion in revenue for local producers.

We stand with the Congressional sponsors of this legislation in calling for this critical investment in our food and farm future. The Local FARMS Act should be included in the 2018 farm bill.

Want to show your support for local foods in rural communities? Here’s how you can get involved:

A quick call to your representative expressing your support for this bill will make a big impact! Call the Congressional Switchboard at 202.224.3121.

Not sure what to say? Here is an example: “Hello, my name is _________, and I live in [town where you live, so they know you are a member of their district]. I’m calling to let Representative/Senator _________ know I support the Local FARMS Act. I support local farmers, and I want good food in my community. Thank you!”

Did you call? Let us know! Contact me at coraf@cfra.org or 402.687.2100 x 1012.

Learn more about the bill here.