The latest news from the National Sustainable Agriculture Coalition including: Grassfed label preserved, Urban Agriculture Bill, Child Nutrition Bill, Organic and Local Food Grant Awards, and more…
National Sustainable Agriculture Coalition Applauds Action to Preserve Grassfed Label – In response to significant criticism from producers and consumers of sustainable meats following their revocation of the grassfed label claim in early 2016, today the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) released an animal production claims guidance document intended to ward against misleading label claims.
Comprehensive Urban Agriculture Bill Can Help Grow More Sustainable Cities – As the local food movement has grown, so too has interest in urban agriculture. Urban agriculture both educates city dwellers about the realities of farming, an economic opportunity generator, and provides them with healthy food in a way that connects rural and urban communities. Recognizing the budding potential of the urban agricultural movement, U.S. Senator Debbie Stabenow (D-MI), Ranking Member of the Senate Committee on Agriculture, Nutrition and Forestry, introduced S. 3420, the Urban Agriculture Act of 2016 on Wednesday, September 28.
Congress Passes Funding Extension, Postpones Action on Child Nutrition Bill – As the 2016 fiscal year comes to a close today, Congress is heading for the doors, and in many cases back out to the campaign trail. With a packed legislative calendar and a limited number of working days in September, Congress managed to attend to some important issues (like avoiding a government shut down, for now), while leaving many others on the back burner to resume in the “lame duck” session after the elections.
Millions Awarded for Local Food and Direct Market Projects – In an effort to develop markets for local and regional produced food and bridge the gap between farmers and consumers, USDA created the Farmers Market and Local Food Promotion Program (FMLFPP) to fund projects in this area. This week USDA awarded over $26 million in FMLFPP grants to nonprofits, community based organizations, farmer co-ops, private businesses and local governments for more than 100 direct-to-consumer and local food marketing projects.
Organic Research Awards Announced – On September 28, USDA announced 26 organic research grants from two programs: the Organic Transitions Program (ORG) and the Organic Agriculture Research and Extension (OREI) program. This announcement comes at the heels of the Organic Farming Research Foundation’s (OFRF) report made earlier this summer, that highlighted an underinvestment in organic livestock and poultry research compared with research on organic crops, in addition to the general understanding that federal investment in organic research lags behind the rest of the agriculture sector.
USDA Invests in Tribal Food Business Development – Through its Rural Business Development Program, the U.S. Department of Agriculture awarded $3.8 million to 28 Indian tribes, nonprofit organizations, and other entities. These projects will assist with the development and growth of small, rural businesses in tribal communities through business planning, operational improvements, and job training as well as acquisition of land, capital, and equipment. Of the 28 projects, at least six included a specific focus on food and agriculture.