Dear Rebecca,

Welcome to the February 2021 edition of The Buzz. The new year is off to a fast start as Congress and the legislatures in the Carolinas have started session. The issues facing the sustainable agriculture community, particularly in relation to the ongoing negotiations around COVID-19 relief, and agricultural solutions to climate change like those in the Agricultural Resilience Act will be hot topics in the first quarter of 2021. 

One issue of immediate concern is the proposed changes to the Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA) regulations. If implemented, these unfair rules would burden local farms and food businesses with onerous record-keeping requirements. There is an opportunity to make your voice heard by submitting a comment to the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). The deadline is February 22, so take action today!



In solidarity,

Nick Wood, CFSA Policy Director

P.S. "This Week at CFSA" is back and we've made tweaks!
  • Monthly themes
    • February - food access and hunger
    • March - how to buy local food
    • April - climate change
  • Taking Q&A from viewers that tune in during live broadcasts!
  • Posting recordings to YouTube (if you don't do Instagram or Facebook)
Want to watch live? Follow us on Facebook and tune in on Fridays at 10 a.m.


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

Farmers Engage in Collective Action in India

Farmers have recently led massive protests across the world’s largest democracy in a backlash to significant changes made last year to India’s agricultural system. Near the end of 2020, Indian President Narendra Modi pushed forward three significant new rules for the selling and purchasing of agricultural products into law outside of typical parliamentary procedures. Farmers across the country feel the new system will create significant disadvantages for small farmers, 86% of whom cultivate less than two hectares or less. 
Scientific American, Modern Farmer, and The Daily Show all provide important context and information to help you understand this complex situation. Even though India has a different historical context and systems than America, what parallels or similarities do you see in the challenges both systems currently face?

Matt Kneece, South Carolina Policy Coordinator

Hawaiian Community-Based Approach to Farming Shows a Safer Path Forward
In these times of uncertainty, we’re all looking for creative ways to reconnect with not just local food, but our neighbors in general. Community farming is not a new concept; in fact, it’s one of the oldest. I’ve been reflecting lately on this captivating article from Yes! Magazine that highlights Hawaiian groups whose sole focus is the promotion of local food and resilient communities.
Originally founded to decrease Hawaii’s reliance on imported food, these groups promote community harvesting, farm-to-school programs, soil health management, and more. The ongoing COVID-19 crisis has illustrated just how reliant our society generally is on complex and complicated supply chains, and this community-based farming approach is being copied elsewhere as a way to create healthy, resilient communities.


Nick Wood, Policy Director

$30 Billion USDA Fund Offers Hope for Climate & Pandemic Relief

Before the Trump Administration, the Commodities Credit Corporation (CCC) was a little-known USDA program hailing from the Depression era, largely utilized to purchase cheese from struggling dairy farmers. Former USDA Secretary Sonny Perdue unlocked this fund to support farms harmed by trade policy and the COVID-19 pandemic, with CCC payments accounting for 40% of farm income in 2020. 

With a current balance of $30 billion, the CCC is expected to be a centerpiece of the Biden Administration’s plans to support agriculture through the USDA. Speculations are that this could include funding for a carbon bank, pandemic relief, aid for restaurants, and climate programs related to agriculture. Check out this article from Politico for more information. 

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