Target: Tom Vilsack, U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Secretary
Goal: Thank USDA for directing crucial funds to local food systems
Despite the growing demand for locally grown food, the movement still faces a variety of challenges. According to an article in the New York Times, farmers struggle to market their food locally in a system that geared toward large-scale production, distribution and consumption. Moreover, grocery stores and restaurants are only just figuring out how to find a place for smaller batches of produce among their larger selection of merchandise. Thankfully, the federal government is stepping in to help with a new program to give local and regional food systems a boost.
The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) announced that as of September 2014, they will spend $52 million on local and regional food systems such as farmers markets and food hubs in addition to supporting research on organic farming. This program goes beyond previous attempts to support the local food movement, and comes as part of the farm bill that President Barack Obama signed into law in February 2014. The move marks the beginning of greater federal support for the organic business, which is to receive $125 million over the next five years for research and $50 million for conservation. Additionally, since farmers’ markets have increased 76 percent since 2008, the funds are also going toward the creation of more jobs.
By signing the petition below, you can applaud the USDA for following through on this crucial step to revitalizing our nation’s food system and boosting both ecosystem health and the economy.
Dear Secretary Vilsack,
I am writing to applaud your agency’s allocation of $52 million to boost local and regional food systems as well as research on organic farming. With this move, you are demonstrating your commitment to building up the economy community by community while modeling responsible use of natural resources.
Thank you for taking the initiative to invest in the health of our ecosystems and the well-being of our nation. Your support provides hope to all those working toward an environmentally sustainable approach to food production and consumption. I look forward to witnessing the prosperity of local food systems throughout the country.
[Your Name Here]
Photo credit: Joe Mabel via Wikimedia Commons