The farm bill expired on Oct 1. Lack of action by Congress has left food and agriculture programs with an uncertain future. Grassroots organizations are fighting for a bill that protects gains made in the last two cycles.
On Oct. 16, a coalition of leaders from agricultural, ranching, acequia and economic development groups throughout NM came together to urge Congress to re-authorize a “full and fair” farm bill and to call attention to the significance of locally grown food. The rally on the United Nations’ World Food Day was coordinated with over 400 organizations across the country that signed a joint statement advocating support for small-scale and beginning farmers and ranchers, not just agribusiness. They also want a bill (typically $500 billion) that promotes equality for historically underserved farmers and ranchers, restores funding for food and nutrition (SNAP) programs, improves access to healthy, fresh, locally grown food, and promotes conservation of land, water and natural resources.
Speakers representing organizations hosting the action at the Santa Fe Farmers’ Market included: Paula Garcia of the NM Acequia Assn., Pati Martinson and Terri Badhand of Taos Economic Development Corp., Dave Sanchez of the Northern NM Stockmans’ Assn., and Don Bustos of the American Friends Service Committee. The Santa Fe Farmers’ Market Institute was another of the participating sponsors. National co-sponsors included the Rural Coalition and the National Latino Farmers and Ranchers. Supporters included the National Family Farm Coalition, the National Campaign for Sustainable Agriculture, and the Community Food and Justice Coalition. For more information online, visit http://ruralco.org