Congresswoman Chellie Pingree (D-ME) has unveiled a new bill to support local farmers in the midst of a hard hit economy. The bill aims to open a viable market for small, local farmers. The Local Farm, Food, and Jobs Act will work to support the production and distribution of high quality local foods for an industry crippled by a monopolizing factory farming system.
Bill author Congresswomen Chellie Pingree of Maine is hoping to take the local food system to the next level by improving the available infrastructure for small, local farmers, according to the story in Food Safety News.
"We've seen explosive growth in sales of local food here in Maine and all across the country. This bill breaks down barriers the federal government has put up for local food producers and really just makes it easier for people to do what they've already been doing," the congresswoman said.
According to Obama Foodorama, the legislation modifies the Farm Bill, by including numerous provisions focused on small, organic, and family farms. Here are some of the provisions as reported on the web site:
*Create a new crop insurance program tailored to the needs of organic farmers and diversified farmers who grow a wide variety of crops and can’t easily access traditional crop insurance.
*Require USDA to keep doing traditional seed research, not just on genetically modified seeds.
*Eliminate existing penalties for production of fruits and vegetables on land previously dedicated to row-crops.
*Invest in critical infrastructure that would enable farmers and food-businesses to aggregate, store and distribute their products.
*Enable SNAP recipients to purchase locally grown food by helping farmers and direct sales markets acquire the technology necessary to accept electronic benefits
*Increase food safety training and technical assistance resources for small and mid-sized farming operations as well as to small slaughterhouses.
*Reduce barriers to institutional purchasing, better linking farms with schools, hospitals, and other institutions.
This small farms bill takes big steps to make it easier for small farmers to produce high quality eats for all to enjoy.
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