May 15, 2023
More than 1,000 amendments have been filed to the Massachusetts Senate Committee on Ways and Means draft budget. Senators now have a week to review and consider these amendments before debating and voting on a final budget the week of May 22.
Senators may choose to cosponsor as many amendments as they wish, to show support for efforts that serve their communities. They need to hear from you about the items that are most important to you and your neighbors, so please take this opportunity to review the amendments in this article as well as others, and contact your senators to let them know your priorities.
Dozens of these amendments relate to Massachusetts’ food system, proposing investments in local programs and projects, as well as in statewide efforts. The Collaborative has prioritized three amendments:
#368. Healthy Incentives Program Funding, $24,000,000, Senator Gobi. This funding will ensure that this successful program will continue to grow, supporting healthy families and sustainable farms.
#87. Food Literacy, $1,250,000, Senator Lewis. This funding will support DESE and MDAR in expanding opportunities for students to learn about nutrition, culinary skills, and other food system issues.
#17. Dairy Promotion Grant Program, $100,000, Senator Gobi. This funding will be directed to the state’s grant program that promotes and helps sustain local dairy farmers, a program that is consistently oversubscribed.
Totaling less than .02% of the proposed budget, these three amendments would represent a tremendous boost to our food security, our local economy, our climate resilience, and the growth of a sustainable, equitable food system.
Below is a table of food system budget items under discussion in the Senate. We urge stakeholders to contact senators in support of these items, as well as any amendments supporting local earmarks in your communities.
For more information about how to support these asks, see these organizations/resources: