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75 Action Items Found
Provide more public education on urban food production techniques in community gardens and home gardens, such as growing vegetables, composting, keeping bees, chickens, and other animals.
Educate municipal officials and citizen advocates about the availability of state funds for this purpose, including Local Acquisitions for Natural Diversity (LAND), Parkland Acquisitions and Renovations Program (PARC), Community Forest Stewardship Implementation, and Urban Agriculture.
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.
Explore and implement financial incentives and service fees to support food donation distributors, many of which rely exclusively on charitable donations to fund their work.
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.
Create a communication network so that farmers can connect with volunteers willing to harvest and distribute a crop in an overly abundant year.
Offer Extension trainings and technical assistance to urban farmers on relevant topics.
Develop Extension resources and assistance for home gardening, food seasonality, selection, preparation, and preserving.
Fund, develop, and implement educational curriculum and events to increase consumer awareness of the benefits of eating fresh, local seafood, as well as precautions to take to ensure that fish eaten comes from unpolluted waters, and that exposure to heavy metals in fish is minimized. Revisit past New England Seafood Series programming by UMass Extension Nutrition Education Program, and consider rededicating funding.
Make local seafood eligible for purchase with consumer incentives programs, like Boston Bounty Bucks.
Distribute sustainably-caught, local seafood to hunger relief organizations.
Distribute local seafood at retail locations that accept SNAP.
Distribute fresh, whole fish to markets, with a focus on customers’ cultural preferences. This is a marketing strategy that reduces processing costs and delivers cost-savings to customers.
Encourage sale and consumption of lower-cost, underutilized species, like Whiting, Arcadian Redfish, Dogfish, and Scup in all markets.
Promote safe recreational angling – including clamming, lobstering, and spear fishing – that enables individuals to fish for their own seafood. Facilitate this by developing urban access to fishing piers, and removing language barriers for permits.
Food Access, Security and Health 1.1.1
Maintain the Massachusetts Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) and review its expansion, as well as the enactment of similar tax credits and household supportive subsidies (i.e. assistance for child care from the Department of Early Education and Care) that will increase the proportions of household incomes that are available for groceries and other necessities.
Food Access, Security and Health 1.2.1
Support the adoption of a living wage standard for Massachusetts workers, with exceptions for time-limited youth training on production farms and associated retail operations.