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Dear Rebecca,

Happy New Year! I hope you all got what you needed out of the darkest days of the year, whether it was rest, family time, a party, or planning what you're going to grow in 2019. 

We finished 2018 with the passage of the federal farm bill. But, just as the federal work slowed down, state-level work ramped up, ensuring that there's never a dull moment for CFSA's policy team. 

North and South Carolina started their respective legislative sessions this month. We look forward to a year of working with legislators in both states to bring changes to the law that benefit CFSA's members. If you'd like to keep up-to-date on what we're working, be sure to sign up for CFSA's Action Alerts in NC, SC, or federal (or all!). 


As of this writing, the federal government shutdown continues and is really affecting Carolina farmers. With FSA offices closed, disaster aid from last year's hurricanes has ground to a halt; farmers can't apply for loans or crop insurance. As you'll read in Glenn's selection below, the shutdown is taking a toll on the National Organic Program, too. 

If you're looking for some bright spots in the food and agriculture landscape, check out the article I highlight about female ranchers out West and Jared's article about how the Charlotte-Mecklenburg Food Policy Council is connecting students, a very productive school garden, and home-bound seniors to increase access to healthy, locally grown food in their community. 

Don't miss that we're hiring a South Carolina policy coordinator! If the position isn't right for you, please forward it to someone who may be right for it.

Thanks for all you do. 


Rochelle signature_cropped

Rochelle Sparko, CFSA’s Policy Director

The policy team is growing! We're currently hiring a South Carolina Policy Coordinator. This person will work on the policy team to:
  • Develop advocacy goals;
  • Organize CFSA’s SC members and allies to advocate for specific policy solutions to achieve those goals;
  • Educate state and federal policymakers on issues of importance to the local and organic food and farming community;
  • Spearhead and oversee grassroots communications campaigns in support of CFSA’s policy goals; and
  • Support CFSA’s organizational allies in SC to demonstrate CFSA’s commitment to, and impact on, agriculture in SC.
For more info on the position, skedaddle on over to our website

Applications due Feb. 15, 2019.

Here are the top reads from CFSA's policy team
Jared Cates, Community Mobilizer

Healthy Seniors Through School Gardens

Collaboration truly is an amazing thing! Take the work of the Charlotte-Mecklenburg Food Policy Council.

As this article weaves together, the food council engages in farm-to-school policy and programs, such as hosting two FoodCorps volunteers to work directly in the Charlotte-Mecklenburg school system. Volunteers work on school garden and food-based curriculum projects like the extended school farm at Garinger High School, which is the largest produce generator for Charlotte's Meals on Wheels organization, Friendship Trays. 

Over 100 gardens donate produce, which not only allows Friendship Trays to make and deliver meals to seniors made from locally grown ingredients, but gives participating gardens (like Garinger High School) an opportunity to operate a mobile farm stand at the downtown transit center, as well as selling produce directly to people who might otherwise not have access to fresh produce.  
Rochelle Sparko, Policy Director

Female Ranchers Are Reclaiming the American West

While men still dominate the ag and ranching industries, that demographic is starting to tip a bit more toward women.

This article (warning: graphic image) features female ranchers out West. As millions of acres of farmland and ranchland are about to change hands nationally, women are increasingly taking the reins (or putting their hands to the plow). 

While the consequences of this demographic shift aren't clear yet, the women featured in this story seem to appreciate that there's something different about being a woman in ag. I'd love to hear from the female-identifying farmers out there; what, if anything, do you think your presence adds to your farm, to your community, to your state? Email me at if you'd like to share your thoughts. 

Glenn Kern, Organic Policy Coordinator

Federal Government Shutdown Impacts the National Organic Program

Now in its fifth week, the federal government shutdown is causing significant impacts to the National Organic Program (NOP), the office of the USDA responsible for overseeing the USDA Organic label.  

As reported by the National Organic Coalition (of which CFSA is an affiliate-member), the NOP is at a complete standstill until Congress approves a new spending bill to reopen the government. 

In the meantime, the NOP's investigation and enforcement activities have been halted. If the shutdown continues for much longer, it's possible that the next meeting of the National Organic Standards Board, currently scheduled for April, would have to be canceled or rescheduled. The integrity of certified organic food depends on the diligent staff of the NOP being able to do their jobs, and we at CFSA hope they are back at work soon! 


The Carolina Farm Stewardship Association is on a mission to bring local, organic food to your table from a farmer who shares your values – and we can’t do it without you. Together we are building a regional food system that is good for consumers, growers, and the land.

Copyright © 2019 Carolina Farm Stewardship Association, All rights reserved.

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