Protecting Small-Scale Food Projects from the Ground Up

Once again, we have a program that is actually working that is seriously underfunded. And now, in the new farm bill, it is de-funded.
I wonder, is it simply an oversight, or yet another way to create even more dependency upon BigAg.
Here we have a program that is helping folks grow their own food and hooking people up with local producers, underfunded, yet still doing some good. Do Cargill, Conagra, ADM think this is not such a good idea? I wonder.
Perhaps we all need to take up the slack and help a neighbor grow their own. I know lots of us here share with friends and neighbors already. One year, here in town, the local ministerial alliance, which operates a small food bank and clothing store, were accepting and encouraging people to donate fresh produce that they could distribute to those who were in need. Had a slogan that went something like, "Plant an Extra Row for Those in Need." Pretty damned good idea.
Care Charlie
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http://www.commondreams.org/archive/2007/10/15/4550 /
and
http://www.stltoday.com/stltoday/news/stories.nsf/editorialcommentary/story/2A39E5A96EE433BE86257373000E9F38?OpenDocument
Excerpt:
Protecting Small-Scale Food Projects from the Ground Up by Bridget Kelly Ries and Margaret Kelly
Earlier this summer, 40 families in North St. Louis began receiving weekly deliveries of fresh produce - direct from Missouri farms. In an area that many grocery stores have left, access to fresh, tasty fruits and vegetables is a godsend. And during the weeks of harvest abundance, locally grown produce has made its way to the neighborhood’s farmers’ market and food bank.
Residents say the box full of good vegetables, delivered through Gateway Greening’s City Seeds project, has carried them through the next week. Farmers selling the produce are gaining valuable experience in serving new markets and are enthusiastically planning next year’s production.
In central and northern rural Missouri, residents have been saving money by banding together and ordering food in bulk through the Missouri Rural Crisis Center’s food cooperative program. But in the last decade, higher-quality, lower fat pork products produced by members’ friends and neighbors have become a staple. Food cooperative members have gotten better food, and Missouri farmers successfully have marketed the “whole” pig, not just the restaurant-desired loin.
Stories such as these have been repeated hundreds of times across the United States. In each case, they have required committed citizens, knowledgeable non-profit organizations and - first and foremost - funding from the USDA’s Community Food Projects Competitive Grants Programs.
First authorized by Congress in the 1996 Farm Bill, this program has provided grants to help cities, towns and rural counties to do something simple and uniquely American: develop their own solutions to local food, nutrition and agricultural problems.
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<Charlie> wrote in message

http://www.stltoday.com/stltoday/news/stories.nsf/editorialcommentary/story/2A39E5A96EE433BE86257373000E9F38?OpenDocument
As near as I can figure it, it started in earnest with Halloween candy and razors. Now, not many will take a handout of any kind unless its cash. Dave
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