2010 was a red-letter year for sustainable agriculture and the real food movement. Many victories were enjoyed thanks to the hard work of parents, teachers, and activists like YOU!
While there’s still more work to be done, here are some of the most important food-related policies achieved in 2010.
1. $40 million for the Farm to School program
Because of the passage of the Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act of 2010, $40 million in mandatory funding will now go towards farm-to-school programs, which set up local school gardens and food from local farms as ingredient sources for school meals. To learn more about the Farm-to-School programs in your area, click here.
2. $36 million for young farmers
Farmers over the age 55 own more than half the farmland in the U.S. But the number of new farmers and ranchers over the age of 35 is increasing, as does the number of smaller farms and ranches nationwide. To address the needs of this changing generation, $17.2 million in funding was made available to the USDA to establish a Beginning Farmer and Rancher Development Program (BFRDP). In 2011, that program will enjoy $36 million in additional funding so that new farmers can apply for grants and learn sustainable farming practices.
3. Small Farms Gain From Compromise on S. 510
Although the infamous Food Safety Modernization Act S510 drew criticisms from all sides, the package did include several amendments aimed at easing the regulatory burden on small-scale farms and food facilities.
4. Increased Conservation Funding for Certified Organic Producers
2011 marks the third year of USDA’s Organic Initiative, and up to $50 million will be made available for producers to plan and implement conservation practices that address natural resource concerns in ways that are consistent with organic production.
5. Major Food Retailers Shifting Support To Cruelty-Free Products
Safeway now purchases 6 percent cage-free eggs and plans to double that percentage in just two years. Safeway has also pledged to increase the amount of both chicken and turkey purchased from controlled atmosphere killing (CAK) processors as supply becomes available.
Whole Foods Market has made it a policy to refuse pork from producers that confine sows in crates, and along with Wild Oats Natural Marketplace and Trader Joe’s, it is now implementing cage-free-egg policies. By January 1, 2011, most of the fresh meat products sold at Whole Foods will be rated using Global Animal Partnership (GAP) standards (via Farm Forward).
Can you think of other real food victories that belong on this list? Share them in a comment!
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