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.
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
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
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.