Friday, December 19, 2008

Local community food advocate recommends direction for USDA

Mark Winne, a Santa Fe-based advocate for community-based food systems, wrote a piece in his blog in which he recommends the direction that the U.S. Department of Agriculture should take under the new administration.

Here's an excerpt:
The mere structure of the U.S. Dept. of Agriculture...presents a lingering policy problem that thwarts those growing hordes of activists who see the promise of justice and sustainability being fulfilled at the community level.

USDA is hopelessly fragmented into programs that assist farmers – mostly very large commodity farmers, as we know; programs (15 separate ones in all) that feed people such as food stamps; and programs that support conservation.

If I walked into USDA headquarters in Washington, DC and asked to see someone who could help me develop a local food system that respected our natural resources, rewarded farmers with a decent livelihood, and provided healthy food to all our residents, nobody would know where to send me.

Click here to access more of Mark's thoughts via his website and blog, including information about his recently published book, Closing the Food Gap. I wrote about it in a previous blog post.

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