The Healthy Farms, Food and Communities Act (HFFCA) renews and expands the policies and approaches first outlined in the Community Food Security Coalition's 1995 Community Food Security Empowerment Act document. The HFFCA includes a legislative initiative to be incorporated into the 2002 Farm Bill, and a broader set of policy principles and legislation that we endorse. Both of these policy platforms - the Farm Bill initiative and an overarching policy approach create the basis for furthering the goals of healthy farms, healthy food, and, ultimately, healthy communities.
Farm Bill Summary
As part of the 2002 Farm Bill, we propose a five-part legislative initiative that expands on the Community Food Projects (CFP) program. Since the program's inception, CFP grants have helped generate a number of creative and successful projects that have enabled communities to reduce hunger, improve residents' nutrition, and support family farmers. The proposals contained in this initiative represent a budget request of $70 million per year, a modest and reasonable investment considering the enormous pressures for alternative strategies and creativity in adapting the present food system to meet the needs of vulnerable populations such as low-income residents and struggling family farmers. The provisions include:
- Reauthorizing and increasing mandatory annual funding to $7.5 million for the core Community Food Projects Program and provide an additional $2.5 million for a new mini-grants component for smaller single focus projects such as community kitchens or garden projects ($10 million).
- Incorporating a Planning Grant component to the Community Food Projects Program to fund program and business planning and community food assessments to guide successful project development ($15 million).
- Establishing a Local Food Bonus Account to increase the purchase of locally or regionally produced food by institutions serving low and moderate-income households ($25 million).
- Launching a USDA Healthy Farms, Healthy Kids Initiative to integrate a general policy to purchase locally with a Farm-to-School Seed Grant Fund and expansion of the current Small Farms/School Meals Program ($15 million).
- Creating a Community Food Security Research, Training, and Education program to link and develop research programs to support community food security assessments, new model strategies and a new generation of scholars in this field ($5million).
The Community Food Security Coalition's "Healthy Farms, Food, and Communities" legislative package for the 2002 Farm Bill provides one important route for beginning to develop a healthy food system. The task of restructuring the nation's food and farm policies is massive, and one requiring broad and deep changes in a number of sectors. The CFSC is supportive of many of these efforts, as we see ourselves as part of a larger set of organizations and movements seeking to transform what has become an unjust, undemocratic, and unsustainable food system.
We support farm policies that provide farmers with a greater share of the food dollar, encourage conservation, reduce the monopoly power of agri-businesses, preserve farmland, and support the ability of minority farmers and farmworkers to earn a fair wage and stay on their land. We support nutrition policies that increase the minimum wage to a living wage, expand food stamps and the WIC program, improve the quality of meals through the Child Nutrition Programs, and build connections between low income families and local agriculture. We support transportation policies that improve access to healthy foods for the transit dependent, and that foster redevelopment of inner city communities rather than sprawl.
Federal policy changes, including those associated with the upcoming 2002 Farm Bill, can play a critical role in reversing decades of concentration in the food system, protracted community food insecurity, including lack of access to fresh and nutritious food, decline of family farms and rural communities, and environmental degradation.
To take back the food system for communities, farmers, and consumers, and create a more just, democratic, and sustainable food policy requires action at all levels - from Congress to neighborhoods. Change begins to happen when people are able to act in concert and identify the kinds of coalitions that can make change possible.
For the food system, the process for making change has begun. Join us!
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