Last week I wrote about the People’s Garden, created at the U.S. Department of Agriculture by Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack. The garden is meant to encourage people to take part in home gardening and to grow their own food by demonstrating environmentally sound gardening practices. He also announced the intention of creating a community garden at every USDA facility in the United States.
This emphasis on community gardens is giving many of us in the sustainable food community hope that the Obama administration will do more to support a sustainable farm system and eating locally. That is why American Farmland Trust has come up with a list that it is calling “9 for ’09 Farm and Food Policy Recommendations” for President Obama and the USDA.
The American Farmland Trust (AFT) is a nonprofit membership organization created in 1980 by a group of farmers and conservationists that is committed to “protecting the nation’s best farm and ranch land and improving the economic viability of agriculture.”
As stated on it’s website, the group is all about local farms and food, “Without local farms and farmland, there is no local food. We’re making the connection for communities across America.”
That’s why they have come up with the “9 for ’09″ that promotes community and small family farms, protects local food systems and farmland, promotes sound stewardship, and preserves water and soil quality.
The 9 for ’09 food and farming policy recommendations are as follows:
- Reduce the federal government’s role in farmland loss
- Protect and promote regional food system programs contained in the farm bill
- Prioritize agriculture’s role in reducing greenhouse gases
- Support efforts to engage farmers in improving water quality
- Properly implement and fully fund the Farm and Ranch Lands Protection Program
- Mitigate against the loss of farm and ranchland in transportation legislation and create a green agriculture infrastructure
- Create a Farmer Corps
- Evaluate the impacts of farmland loss on national food and energy security
- And, support local food in school cafeterias and access for low income consumers
The group is asking for supporters to sign its petition telling President Obama to support the “9 for ’09″ and adopt these food and farming recommendations.
You can also support this great group by making a donation and in return, get some of their cool “No Farms No Food” merchandise in the process, and you can also show your support of local eating by taking the “Keep It Local Pledge.“