Should schools purchase meat and produce directly from local farmers? Do all eligible citizens have access to public food assistance programs without unnecessary barriers and stigma? Do city officials consider the value of preserving local farmland or support opportunities for producers to sell directly to consumers? State and local food policies like these will be critical in determining the future of agriculture in the United States, but the potential for state and local policies to support progressive and necessary changes in America’s food system is often overlooked. With all the attention to billion dollar “emergency” farm bailouts and discussion of the 2002 farm bill, it is too easy to assume federal policy is the only factor shaping the future of farming. Clearly the federal government plays a central role in creating the economic environment for much of agriculture, especially commodity production. But for many issues most directly impacting farmers and consumers, state and local actions can be just as important. These actions will need to be a central consideration in the policy debate if we expect to satisfy society’s expectations for how well our food and farming system serves its needs.
Putting a Face on Our Food: How State and Local Food Policies Can Promote the New Agriculture
Drake Journal of Agricultural Law
Neil D. Hamilton
Des Moines, IA: Drake Univeristy Law School
January 01, 2002
Direct Marketing, Farm to School / Institution, Farm Viability, Food Policy Councils, Local / Regional Food Systems