Dear Rebecca,

Welcome to the November 2020 edition of The Buzz. It’s already been quite an eventful month for everyone due to the election, which answers some questions but leaves many more as major changes come amid a country surrounded by COVID-19-related uncertainties. For CFSA staff and hundreds of others, the first week of November also brought the excitement of our first-ever, virtual Sustainable Agriculture Conference. 

It is a time of transition, particularly on the federal level. 2021 will bring a new president and new leadership at the USDA. Big leadership changes will also come to the agriculture committees in the U.S. House and U.S. Senate, as three out of the four chairs will no longer be serving in Congress. 

What hasn’t changed is the need for a strong pandemic response like that in the Local Farmer Act, urgent action on climate change, and much more to support our local farms and food system next year!

In solidarity,


Nick Wood, CFSA Policy Director

PS - 'Tis the Give Back! During the season of giving thanks and giving gifts, please consider giving back with a tax-deductible donation to CFSA. Every dollar is appreciated and represents your vote for a sustainable food and farming future in the Carolinas and beyond. 

Every Friday | 10 am | CFSA's Facebook
Last Week: Racial Discrimination in USDA Farm Support Programs

We sat down with Melvin Womack, who worked for the USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service for 42 years, serving in a variety of roles, including as Director of USDA’s Civil Rights Task Force in Washington, DC. We discussed some of the history of racial discrimination in USDA farm support programs and what can be done about that legacy today. 
This Week: Black Friday 2020 - Why Shopping Small & Local Matters

We're doing a special Black Friday edition this week! We're chatting with the NC Restaurant and Lodging Association's Isabel Villa-García to discuss supporting small farms and independent restaurants, COVID-19, and what's needed from Raleigh and Washington to support local economies. Join at 10 am on Friday!

Don't do social media? Broadcasts and recordings are available whether or not you have an account on Facebook (or Instagram, where we also post recordings).


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

Systems Thinking Helps Build Resilience in Post-COVID Food Supply Chains

The COVID-19 pandemic has disrupted our food supply chain drastically. At the same time, climate impacts are increasing and causing disastrous losses to the agricultural economy. Local and state governments across the country are finally waking up to the need to create food system resilience through improving our regional food infrastructure and economies.

This past summer, the Triangle J Council of Governments hosted CFSA as a presenter at a Regional Roundtable on Resilient Food Systems, where county commissioners from several NC counties called on Triangle J to support them in planning for and understanding resilient food systems. But complex problems like our food system require complex, innovative solutions and systems thinking approaches. So where do we start?

This article from Food Safety Magazine highlights the need for innovative systems thinking to help build resilience in post-COVID food supply chains. The author focuses on the importance of digital tools that can be employed through a systems-led approach versus a technology-led discussion and can inform policy and public investment changes to support the development of more resilient food systems. 
Matt Kneece, SC Policy Coordinator

Farming as a Way of Helping Veterans Fulfill Their Mission 
It’s no secret that veterans have been, and continue to be, one of the most neglected members of our society. After years of selfless service, often far from home, veterans return to find themselves looking for a purpose or for new opportunities. Many, actually, turn to farming not just as a profession but as a way of finding that new purpose. 
This great article from Ag Daily highlights the amazing work that the Farmer Veteran Coalition (FVC) is doing to connect those who served with all the resources they need to succeed with their new mission. A North Carolina chapter of FVC has already been established, and a South Carolina chapter, headed by farmers Matt and Kara Rutter of Project Victory Gardens, was started this year. We at CFSA are proud to have FVC as members and are excited to work closely with them as they continue to serve those who’ve served our country. 
Nick Wood, Policy Director

Agriculture Organizations Make Case to Incoming Biden Administration 

As the dust settles following the 2020 election, agriculture organizations from the National Farmers Union (NFU) to the American Farm Bureau Federation (AFBF) are making their case to the incoming administration. All the organizations congratulated President-elect Biden but had very different points of emphasis. 

Sustainable agriculture groups like the NFU and American Farmland Trust focused on the dire financial situation smaller farms face, alleviating racial inequities in agriculture, and the need for dramatic action on climate change. AFBF pointed toward trade policy, the farm labor shortage, and increasingly severe weather. Commonalities included rural economic development like rural broadband, and more action to address the pandemic. Check out this article from the Progressive Farmer for more information.


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.

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