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National Campaign for Sustainable Agriculture
Food Security/Urban Links Committee Priorities

See the '97 Annual Meeting Overview for details about how NCSA reached consensus on these and other priorities.
  1. Implementation of Community Food Projects Program: The 1997 Community Food Projects Program (Community Food Security Act) funds non-profit organizations for projects that meet the food needs of low-income people; increases the self-reliance of communities in providing for their own food needs; and promotes comprehensive responses to local food, farm, and nutrition issues. Initiatives that the Campaign will be working on include pushing for an increase in funding for CFPP ($2.5 million total through 2002), oversight of implementation of CFS, and outreach and publicity, as well as linking this to other programs.

  2. CFS supported in USDA programs: The Campaign will work to advance Community Food Security issues by encouraging them to be incorporated into USDA programs. For example, educate SARE regional program officers and decision-makers on allowing and encouraging food system and food security programs into their funding pool; incorporate food security/food systems research as a specific criteria eligible for funding under the National Research Initiative; and incorporate food security/food systems research and programs as part of the Fund for Rural America Request for Proposals (RFP) in 1998 and 1999.

  3. Community Lands Initiative: This initiative is an undeveloped, long-term goal of the Campaign to advance programs which would identify public/unused land that might be available for local food production, and training to help people grow their own food. Projects might include community access to government agency lands (public lands) for CFS, farmers teaching in urban youth programs and urban subsistence food production, model building projects, food capacity mapping, and model ordinances.

  4. Enhance and Expand Farmers Market Nutrition Program (FMNP): This program offers vouchers or coupons for participants in the low-income Women, Infants and Children (WIC) program to purchase fresh fruits and vegetables at local farmers' markets. Because of level funding, several states' pilot programs have been unable to expand statewide, and the many new states seeking to start a program are unable to do so. The Campaign will work to ensure ongoing funding (currently tied to WIC caseload) and to expand the program to more states.

  5. Food Stamp Eligibility: Currently, community supported agriculture farms are ineligible to receive food stamps because of a USDA ruling on "risk sharing." The Campaign will work to have this ruling clarified or reversed, advocate for the use of food stamps for 'subscription' rather than specific food items; mitigate risk for foodstamps users (crop failure), and advocate for the use of revolving funds to substitute for advance input of foodstamps. In addition, conversion to the Electronic Benefit Transfer (EBT) system may make it nearly impossible for vendors at farmers markets to accept food stamps. The Campaign will advocate for short-term (demonstration) and long-term solutions to this problem.

  6. Link Food and Nutrition Programs with local production: All USDA food and nutrition programs such as school meals, WIC, and food stamp programs should be encouraged to link with local food producers whenever possible. This could provide a significant incentive for local production and marketing, and fresher food for program participant
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