Dear Rebecca,

Welcome to the September 2020 edition of The Buzz. We are now six months into the COVID-19 pandemic and devastating market disruptions continue, with no end in sight. Despite this, all indications are that Congress will not manage to pass a stimulus package before the election. CFSA, however, is continuing to advocate for legislation for direct aid for small and mid-scale farms through the Local Farm Act (HR 8096) introduced by Congresswoman Alma Adams and featured in the Charlotte Post. Outreach continues at the state and federal level on this issue. 

With the election around the corner, it is more important than ever for people to engage with the candidates around local food topics, and ask them questions to ensure that issues impacting local food systems are on their minds. I’d also like to encourage folks to check out the Farms, Food, and Hunger virtual candidate forum (in Spanish here), attended by close to 400 people and five statewide candidates for office.

In solidarity,


Nick Wood, CFSA Policy Director

PS - The farmer letter on climate change was delivered to Congress a few weeks ago. Out of 2,100 signatures, North Carolina features the second-largest representation of any state in the letter! We're proud to have participated in the campaign to recruit farmers as signatories and thank each of you who helped us spread the word.

Did you see that Early Bird Registration is open for our 35th annual Sustainable Agriculture Conference, Nov. 4-8, 2020?

In addition to networking opportunities for food and farm agtivists (like a policy happy hour!), there are some stellar policy workshops in the lineup. Here's a taste:
  • Persistent Herbicides and Compost
  • NC Hemp: Pilot Program Update & the Future of Industrial Hemp
  • Black Land Commons, Agrarian Culture & Stewardship
  • Strengthen Farm-to-School Programs
  • Food Councils and Councils of Government
  • What Can We Expect to Learn for Beginning Farmers Post-Election?
Policy wonks and farming advocates are an important seat to fill at the sustainable agriculture table. We hope you'll join us for the virtual gathering to share ideas and build a resilient community around policy that supports local food. 


Every Friday | 10 am | CFSA's Facebook
This Friday, we'll chat with the National Sustainable Agriculture Coalition's policy director and discuss the most recent news on COVID-19 relief funds for small farms.
Don't miss our incredible conversation with Jamie Ager, farmer at Hickory Nut Gap in Fairview, NC, where we discuss the climate and regenerative agriculture.

Don't do social media? 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

Matt Kneece, SC Policy Coordinator

You Say You Want a Fourth Agricultural Revolution?
If you listen to politicians and economists, we’re in the middle of what they’re calling the Fourth Agricultural Revolution, the idea being that the world of agriculture has undergone several developmental revolutions. From the very invention of agriculture to the reorganization of farmland and the eventual introduction of heavy machinery and chemical treatments, the future of farming seems to increasingly be on “production” and “innovation.” 
This fascinating analysis from The Conversation does a great job of encouraging us to take a step back and explore the ramifications of progress for the sake of progress. In this Fourth Agricultural Revolution, we’re encouraged to embrace concepts like the use of AI to make smarter planting decisions, drone application of agrochemicals, and the robotic milking of cows. But as we’ve seen during COVID, supply chains are unimaginably fragile. Will relying on these new technologies stretch them even thinner? And what happens if we keep viewing nature as just a commodity? 
Nick Wood, Policy Director

Miniscule Fines Issued to Large Meat Processors for COVID-19 Cases and Deaths

Over 40,000 mostly Black and Latinx workers at large meat processing facilities have contracted COVID-19 due to unsafe working conditions. More than 200 people have died since March. The U.S. Department of Labor (USDOL) has just rendered its first fines for Occupational Safety And Health Act violations at just two of the nearly 500 plants with identified cases of the deadly virus. 

Two of the world’s largest meat processors, Smithfield and JBS, were fined less than $30,000 collectively. Industry leader JBS, which reported $1.5 Billion in profits last year, paid out only $15,615 (.001% of its yearly revenue) for nearly 300 cases and six deaths in a Colorado facility. Both companies are appealing the fines, alleging that they are “without merit.”

Check out this article from the New York Daily News for an overview, and this report from the Washington Post for a more in-depth look. 
Jared Cates, Community Mobilizer

Natural Disasters Compound Ongoing Problems Facing West Coast Farmers

The apocalyptic scenes from the wildfires in California and Oregon have dominated the media over the past month. Harrowing stories of narrow escapes are a common theme as fast-moving fires fueled by abnormally high temperatures and dry conditions move swiftly across the landscape. The fires have had a particularly high impact on farms in the Bay Area, burning down buildings and infrastructure and, in some cases, wiping out entire crops.

This article from ABC10 in Sacramento explains how these disasters have had devastating impacts on farmers in the Central Valley who have already experienced significant pressures from trade disputes and the pandemic crisis. The article also highlights the dangers that workers face when harvesting under these conditions and the overall devastating impact to farmers' bottom lines. 


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.

(919) 542-2402 |
Copyright © 2020 Carolina Farm Stewardship Association, All rights reserved.

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