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Access to Food
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Federation of Massachusetts Farmers Markets
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88 Action Items Found
Explore expanding the statewide Commerical Food Waste Disposal Ban to phase in smaller food waste generators and residential food waste over time.
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.
Provide education on topics that are relevant to Massachusetts farmers, with a focus on learning to use new technologies and management practices, and meeting food safety requirements.
Develop educational materials about science that is relevant to a range of topical farm management and operations practices, such as organic certification, genetically modified organisms (GMOs), alternative fuels, and others. These materials should address impacts on the environment, public health, and the economy. Assist farmers, retailers, and retail food chain workers in using these materials to educate consumers about these topics.
Encourage UMass Extension collaborations with complementary programs in New England, Massachusetts, and subregions of the state.
Offer Extension trainings and technical assistance to urban farmers on relevant topics.
Encourage and coordinate collaboration among other state Extension services to reduce overlap, fill gaps in demand, and improve interstate cooperation.
Create a network of education and technical service providers that includes government agencies, nonprofits, the UMass system and Extension, the Massachusetts Association of Conservation Districts, technical high schools, other private and public educational institutions, regulators, and others, to ensure that the work of these groups is relevant to the needs of the farming sector, and to reduce redundancies and improve communication across sectors.
Facilitate coordination among nonprofit service providers so that education and technical assistance offered is relevant to the contemporary challenges farmers face, and presented in ways that are accessible to a broad range of farmers, including next generation farmers and New American farmers.
Improve programs offered by MDAR and UMass Extension to aid farmers in understanding and addressing the demands of the federal Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA), other federal food safety regulations, and third party audit systems, particularly as they relate to farmers’ ability to sell at farmers markets and access other retail and wholesale outlets.
Increase funding and support for vocational and agricultural high school farmer training programs, as well as community college hands-on agricultural programs.
Train and manage regulators to enforce regulations consistently, and to offer technical assistance to farmers so that compliance concerns can be remedied quickly. Ensure that regulators who conduct on-site farm inspections are well-versed in farming issues and are able to understand and address specific concerns found on one farm in a broader context.
Develop an online, centralized job matching hub for domestic agricultural workers.
Educate farmers about federal and state labor laws, with an emphasis on assistance with compliance, rather than punitive measures for violations.
Allow brokers to aggregate farm work on multiple farms so that a number of farms can share the costs of transportation and housing of H2A temporary agricultural workers.
Establish peer networks of business technical assistance service providers and financiers to share information, enhance referrals, provide opportunities for skill development, and work to address gaps and duplication within the agricultural sector.
Support the development of a network of urban agriculture practitioners to share resources and ideas that are specific to urban farming practices and considerations.
Implement a fisheries training curriculum that educates the fisheries labor force in the local seafood supply chain, and develops skills of small operators and processors, including in value chain education, sustainable high-tech gear, and alternative and low-energy boat design.
Provide fish and shellfish industry workforce with living wages and full time work, through such measures as diversifying and expanding markets or developing processing cooperatives. Markets for finfish and shellfish are different. As permitted for the different species, direct-to-consumer markets and wholesale markets should be expanded.