Demand for locally grown food is on the rise, as consumers take more interest in how their food is produced, and how food production affects their own health, and the health of their communities.
That’s a positive trend. But if consumers want more local food, we have to help ensure the economic success of the independent farmers who grow that food.
Congresswoman Chellie Pingree (D-Maine) is leading a bipartisan effort to convince leaders of the Farm Bill conference committee to include the Local Agriculture Market Program (LAMP) in the legislation’s final text. LAMP would consolidate numerous existing programs that support new market development into a single streamlined program with permanent, mandatory funding.
In a press release, Pingree said:
“Across the country, farmers are looking for new markets as they deal with trade uncertainty and a strained farm economy. Meanwhile consumer interest in growing markets, such as local food, is creating new opportunities for farmers in their own communities. While USDA has a number of successful programs to help farmers take advantage of these new market opportunities, they can be hard to navigate and funding remains uncertain year-to-year. Putting these programs under one roof and solidifying funding would go a long way toward helping more farmers and organizations reliably access them.”
As Pingree says on her website: Local farmers shouldn’t be in the dark about the resources available to them. It’s time to light the LAMP!