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Updates on policy, programs, and perspectives from the MA food system.

June 01, 2021

Growing need for farmer participation in municipal governance

Municipal agricultural commissions have a new role to play, thanks to an amendment to the law that gives local boards of health their authority, which was enacted earlier this year. Local boards of health must now submit any new regulation that impacts agriculture to the agricultural commission, should it exist, for review before it can be enacted, except in emergency situations. This new law is the result of years of conversations and advocacy by farming organizations, public health organizations, and state agencies. The goal is to foster collaboration that helps keep our food supply safe and farmers in business.

May 17, 2021

Federal funds allow municipalities to invest in the local food system

Funds from the most recent federal coronavirus relief package, the American Rescue Plan (ARP), will soon be available to municipalities. The program’s preliminary guidance cites food insecurity as one of the reasons these resources are being distributed, and states that funds may be spent “To respond to the public health emergency or its negative economic impacts, including assistance to households, small businesses, and nonprofits, or aid to impacted industries such as tourism, travel, and hospitality,” giving cities and towns an opportunity to make investments in the food supply chain to help ensure food security and better access to healthy food.

March 22, 2021

Collaborative Proposes FY22 Food Security Budget

Massachusetts’ local food system has been vital to the response to COVID-19.When the national and global food supply chains failed, local farmers,fishermen, processors, and distributors stepped up to help fill the gaps. When the crisis increased demand for the emergency food system, food banks, pantries, schools, and other community-based organizations developed and implemented innovative ways to work with local producers, source food and distribute it to households in need.

January 27, 2021

Moving a State Farmland Action Plan Forward

For Massachusetts farmers to feed the Commonwealth, land must be available and affordable.  There are a number of laws, programs, regulations, and an executive order seeking to maintain our agricultural land base, but they do not coordinate, or do not coordinate well with each other, leading to , reduced effectiveness, economic and administrative inefficiency, and continued loss of farmland.