policy information center

this is our member nancy taylor with the policy info. center that she has created and placed in the moscow food coop in idaho.   the center is to alert shoppers of important farm bill issues and encourage them to send a letter to their legislators.  information fliers, sample letters, paper, pens and envelopes are all available on one of the 3 sides of the center.   we would like to place these policy information centers in other food stores in the west.  let us know if you want to bring one to your store.   



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farm bill resources

        our primary lead on the farm bill is the sustainable agriculture coalition (sac), which has a new online �farm bill action center�, with all the information you might need to be informed and current on the farm bill process.   we encourage agriculture groups in the west to become familiar with this website and to join sac.   www.sustainableagriculturecoalition.org  


see our april enews (www.westernsawg.org/newsletter14.htm)  for a comprehensive line up of partner organizations that have important, complementary farm bill efforts underway, with links to them.          

        weekly farm bill digest - sign up to get a good weekly summary from the national campaign for sustainable agriculture (via email) of introduced bills re/ the farm bill    click here to sign up.


outreach team - we are building a network of action teams in each state in the west, and you are invited.   please contact us if you will be part of a team in your state to help disseminate information and/or action alerts when quick action is needed to communicate with our legislators.      minutes of outreach team conference calls are here 



farm bill action    

* * *     please contact your legislators to urge them to support specific components of the farm bill as indicated in our latest enews. * * *



healthy food: (1) reauthorization of mandatory annual funding in the amount of $30 million dollars for assistance to community food projects. (2) strengthening of local food purchase in child nutrition programs, including reference to �encourage geographic preferences� for local or regional food procurement (no cost but high impact.  (3) support of the �healthy food enterprise development act� in the blumenauer bill ($35 million in hr 2364) for your representatives in the us house of representatives and in the brown/clinton bill ($42 million in s 1432) in the us senate.

        healthy food website:  the farm and food policy project (ffpp), funded by the wk kellogg foundation, launched a farm bill advocacy mini-website which is intended to generate support for policies promoting the availability of fresh, healthy, and locally produced foods.  visitors to the website will be able to send a general message of support for ffpp priorities in the upcoming farm bill to their senators and representatives.   www.healthyfarmbill.org/   

                  go there now to tell your legislators you want everyone to have healthy food.


the ffpp declaration, entitled seeking balance in u.s. farm and food policy, was unveiled publicly on january 22, with hundreds of national, regional and local organizational endorsements.  see: www.farmandfoodproject.org .  you can still endorse the declaration, contact jessie dowling at info@farmandfoodproject.org  or 202-543-1300. 


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key components of our (sac) farm bill platform are:

      build regional and local food systems- support expansion of farmer market promotion program, eliminate the federal prohibition on interstate sales of meat and poultry products from state-inspected plants, improve and expand community-based healthy food and nutrition programs and initiatives including the farmers market nutrition programs, farm to cafeteria program, and community food projects program

      support organic agriculture- increase funding to $25 million for the national organic certification cost-share program, and create a new national organic transition support program designed to provide technical and financial assistance for the adoption of organic farming-based conservation practices and systems.

      support stewardship of the land- retain, streamline and fully fund the conservation security program (csp) as the primary agriculture stewardship incentive program, available to producers nationwide.

      build rural economies- reauthorize the value-added producers grant with mandatory funding of $50 million annually, prioritize projects that strengthen the profitability of small- and medium-sized farms and ranches, and add a new component of the vapg program to support grants for the development of new value chain with clear and transparent social, environmental, fair labor and fair trade standards.    


national campaign�s organic committee has developed an 8-point 2007 organic farm bill agenda and is working on an action plan to shape the future of organics for the next 2 decades.  submit comments: http://www.sustainableagriculture.net/organic.php   also, an article by michael pollan in the ncsa fall newsletter about how important the farm bill is to the health of our children and the health of our land....�in the midst of a national epidemic of diabetes and obesity our government is, in effect, subsidizing the production of high-fructose corn syrup.�  and   �this time around let�s call it �the food bill� and put our legislators on notice that this is about us and we�re paying attention.�   http://www.sustainableagriculture.net/docs/n/nationalcampaignnewsletter1.pdf


on a further note:  another coalition has been working at the international level on an alternative agricultural trade platform that would address the worldwide farm crisis. this alternative vision would reverse agricultural market deregulation, curtail costly and unsustainable overproduction, and end dumping of crops onto world markets at below the cost of production.   this collaboration, "building sustainable futures for farmers globally," has developed a core set of principles based on three international farmers' exchanges held this past summer in wisconsin, alabama and mexico city.  along with the core principles, more detailed policy planks and other background documents have been developed on commodities, sustainable biomass, small farms and diversity, and food aid. a draft legislative package will be released at a kick-off event in washington, d.c. on december 6 and 7.    http://www.globalfarmer.org/content/default.asp  



  ~ ~ ~ what you can do ~ ~ ~   


read from the farm bill resources sites (above), join our outreach team, and begin talking to your legislators regarding supporting legislation that will turn the 2007 farm bill into a healthy food and sustainable farms bill.  stay tuned for notices regarding upcoming specific bills, sent to our listserv (wsawg) and in our enews.


~ ~ ~ sign up for our monthly enews ~ ~ ~    


wsawg maintains 1 email listserv, which also receives our monthly enews.  (anyone may subscribe)  

simply email bonnie drbonnie2002@yahoo.com  
(you may also sign up for just the enews.)


the wsawg list deals with all topics related to sustainable agriculture, including organic, genetically modified organisms, and conservation issues.  action alerts are the most common notices.   

the western sawg works at both a regional and national-level. many times the issues facing sustainable agriculture at national and regional level overlap. the western sawg is a collaborative network that is constantly striving to articulate the western perspective on national sustainable agriculture issues. we also have issues we feel are unique to the west. finally, we have individuals and organizations that are doing current work on the particular issues facing the western sawg.

if you have any feedback concerning these issues please contact us.

articles or reports re/ recent sustainable ag. issues:

    - - e.coli 0157