Massachusetts Food System Collaborative
Massachusetts Food System Collaborative

May 13, 2024

Contact your Senators: Support food system amendments in FY25 Senate budget!

Last week, state senators filed 1,100 amendments have been filed to the Senate Ways and Means fiscal year 2025 draft budget. Senators now have a week to review and consider these amendments before debating and voting on a final budget starting on May 21st, 2024.

Senators may choose to cosponsor as many amendments as they wish to show support for their communities. Your state senator needs to hear from you about the items that are most important to you and your neighbors. Please take this opportunity to review the amendments in this article, and contact your senators to let them know your priorities.

Dozens of these amendments relate to Massachusetts’ food system, proposing investments in statewide efforts and local programs. The Collaborative has prioritized the following three amendments:

#18. Food Security Infrastructure Grant program, $5,000,000, Senator Tarr. This amendment will raise the total amount available for the FSIG program to $15 million. This successful grant program supports farmers, fishermen, schools, and municipalities, and has been consistently oversubscribed.

#21 HIP enabling legislation, no cost, Senator Tarr. This amendment mirrors the language in the HIP bill (S.85 / H.150), which will enact the program into law permanently, and re-create a trust for program funds. Although the Collaborative is not working with a Senator to file an amendment for full HIP funding, we will continue to make the case for $25 million during the next steps of the process. This level of funding is critical to ensuring the program can continue to operate year-round.

#658. Food Literacy, $1,000,000, Senator Lewis. This amendment will support DESE in increasing the impact of the school wellness coaching program, which assist local districts in creating or planning wellness policies, and the FRESH grant, which supports farm to school and food literacy projects.

We are also concerned about the seeming proposed cut to the MDAR administrative budget. We urge the Senate to address this and restore the funding in the Senate’s final budget proposal.

Totaling approximately only .01% of the proposed budget, these three amendments represent a strong investment to our food security, our local economy, our climate resilience, and the growth of a sustainable, equitable food system. We urge stakeholders to contact senators in support of these items, as well as any amendments supporting local earmarks in your communities.


 

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Massachusetts Food System Collaborative