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69 Action Items Found
Provide more public education on best management practices for urban gardening in locations with known or suspected soil contamination. Provide funding for soil testing.
Initiate a statewide food waste reduction campaign similar to the United Kingdom’s “Love Food Hate Waste” campaign or California’s “Food is Too Good to Waste” campaign to provide consumer education and highlight the environmental benefits of reducing food waste.
Align state initiatives with the USEPA and USDA’s national goal to reduce food waste by 50% by 2030.
Launch an educational campaign to teach consumers about when a product is still safe to eat, even past the expiration/sell by date.
Clarify expiration/sell by dates, and reduce the number of foods that require a date label, using information from Harvard Law School’s Food Law and Policy Clinic.
Increase outreach and education on food donation opportunities, including the Bill Emerson Good Samaritan Food Donation Act, which provides liability protections for donators.
Implement a state tax credit for farmers and others who donate surplus food. Currently, there is no state tax credit for food donation and only C-corporations are eligible for the federal enhanced tax credits and most Massachusetts farmers do not meet these criteria.
Increase refrigerated storage capacity at food pantries through public funding or connections with under-used, existing, nearby facilities to allow food pantries to accept more donations of fresh, perishable foods.
Increase participation in existing education and training around the handling of fresh food for those donating, distributing, and serving the food. Best management practices are being developed through a collaborative effort of the EPA, Massachusetts Department of Public Health(DPH), and Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection (MassDEP), with support from Harvard Law School’s Food Law and Policy Clinic and the Center for Ecological Technology.
Increase education and consistent implementation of public health regulations regarding food donation.
Increase soil testing on land used for urban farming where food is grown in soils of unknown quality. Cities could use Boston’s soil safety protocol as a model.
Explore with MassDEP streamlining the assessment and remediation of contaminated soil on land used for urban farming.
Develop a resource guide for urban farming soil remediation that includes best practices, applicable regulations, and funding sources. City, state, federal agency programs should be included in the guide.
Municipal and regional planning staff should collaborate with urban farms to secure EPA Brownfields Assessment Grants, EPA Brownfields Cleanup Grants, and Massachusetts Parkland Acquisitions and Renovations for Communities Program (PARC) monies.
Provide technical and financial support to farmers for irrigation and waste water testing, to assist in compliance with the U.S. Food and Drug Administration’s Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA) regulations and USDA’s Good Agricultural Practice (GAP) certification.
Provide more education and technical assistance to homeowners and landscapers for proper use of pesticides through local Boards of Health.
Increase education and technical assistance to ensure the health of pollinators, including education for beekeepers, pesticide applicators, farmers, landowners, municipalities, and regulators.
Develop Extension advisory committees of stakeholder representatives to address topical issues, such as livestock, crops, nutrition, energy, pollinators, farm business planning, farm economics, and waste management. These committees would provide guidance on programming and budgets to help ensure that Extension is responsive to the needs of community it serves.
Fully fund the 2014 bond authorization that would support the UMass Center for Urban Sustainability in Waltham. Support the Center’s development as an Extension research and education resource for farmers of all types, as well as for homestead gardening and animal husbandry.
Develop a plan to fully staff a revitalized UMass Extension service with community-based educational specialists, campus-based faculty, training specialists in specific topics, economic development practitioners, and research and laboratory services.