The tens of billions of dollars in subsidies and supports apportioned by this bill have a tremendous influence on the foods we eat, where they are grown, how much they cost, and the state of conservation in farm country. For decades the Farm Bill has been dominated by representatives from commodity producing states with the blessing of representatives nobly fighting to preserve food stamp and nutrition assistance. But the Farm Bill’s narrow focus on corn, cotton, wheat, rice, and soybeans has given us a high-calorie processed food diet, produced by mega farms and mega feedlots, resulting in an epidemic of child and adult obesity. Things don’t have to be this way. Citizens voting with their forks can change food and farm policy and get this right.
Locate your senator or representative:
Call, fax, or email and make your wishes heard:
(Otherwise the agribusiness lobbyists will craft a Farm
Bill for you.)
Tell them you support the Farmers Market Promotion Program.
Tell them you support full funding and endorsement of Country of Origin Labeling (that discloses where perishable foods come from).
Tell them you support an expansion of conversation programs that protect waterways, habitats, and natural resources.
Tell them you support programs that link farm families with new markets such as local schools, cafeterias, and community food projects.
Tell them you support more funds for organic farming and grass pastured livestock operations.
Do your homework:
Read Food Fight: A Citizen's Guide to a Food
and Farm Bill by Daniel Imhoff
"An enlightened food and farm policy is of considerable consequence to every citizen on the planet."
— Fred Kirschenmann, Food Fight
Check out websites:
Inside the Beltway
Sustainable Agriculture Coalition
Environmental Working Group Subsidy Database
National Family Farm Coalition
Slow Food USA
Institute for Agriculture and Trade Policy
Community Food Security Coalition
American Farmland Trust
OxFam America — “Fairness in the Fields”
Public Health Action on the Farm Bill
The expansion of farmers markets and the ability
for small family farmers to continue to supply
farmers markets are highly dependent upon the
outcome of the 2012 Farm Bill.
HOW CAN THE FARM BILL AFFECT FARMERS MARKETS?
As you may know, Congress is in the midst of re-writing the Farm Bill, which is set to expire in September. Over the next few months, decisions will be made on how the hundreds of billions of dollars in the Farm Bill are distributed. These decisions shape how our food is grown and even affect farmers markets with programs and issues such as:
The country’s 4,000+ farmers markets are an outstanding place for us to educate citizens and eaters about this important legislation.
(Umbrella, too!) Consider setting up a table, information booth, or place where shoppers can learn about the importance of the 2012 Farm Bill.
Download a peer-reviewed handout and customize it to include the names of your local representatives and other pertinent issues, and make double-sided copies for your customers.
These action-oriented cards are printed with everything a farmers market shopper needs to know.
(1 box, 30 books, $300, sell for $16.95 and make $210 for your Farmers Market fund.) Food Fight is an easy-to-read book by well-respected author Daniel Imhoff that makes the Farm Bill accessible to anyone.
Make it easy for customers to fill out a postcard while they are at the farmers market. You can use pre-printed cards, sample language, have
stamps and blank cards available for purchase.
Locate your respresentatives: house.gov/writerep or senate.gov
Make an immediate impact by leaving your senators' phone numbers available at the Food Fight table. Offer some talking points. Keep track of how many farmers market shoppers placed calls.
Sell Vote with your Fork T-shirts to popularize the campaign and earn some money. Available from WatershedMedia.org