Coalition Report

By Rae Miller,
Local Food Coordinator
Missouri Coalition for the Environment

We Love LAMP!

I just came back from the Pacific Northwest where I was attending a conference of the National Sustainable Agriculture Coalition (NSAC). Members of the coalition come from around the country and include environmental organizations like ours as well as traditional farming groups. Together, we advocate for federal policy that supports sustainable farming practices.

The focus of the summer meeting was the Farm Bill, a large piece of federal legislation renewed every five years that includes many food-related programs ranging from SNAP (supplemental nutrition assistance program), otherwise known as food stamps, to programs that support local and organic farmers and natural resource conservation.

The U.S. House of Representatives and Senate have each passed their own, very different, versions of the next Farm Bill and have until September 30th to come to an agreement on one, cohesive version. If they do not come to agreement by this deadline, they will likely pass an extension of the current Farm Bill while they work to draft the next version. This process gets political, of course, and many legislators are very aware that the vote could coincide with the elections in November, making it very likely that Congress will pass an extension of the current law until the newly elected members take office in January 2019.

What I like about the Senate version is that it provides funding for the organic farmer cost-share program, LAMP (Local Agriculture Marketing Program), which includes a multitude of grants and programs that support local farmers such as the Value Added Producer Grant and the Local Food Promotion Program, and conservation programs like CSP (Conservation Stewardship Program). In fact, the Local Food Promotion Program funds some of the local food work at MCE, connecting environmentally-responsible farmers in the St. Louis region to more markets! LAMP funding is critical because it encourages investment in environmentally-responsible farmers and access to healthy local food for the next five years!

Now is the time for those who enjoylocal food and the environment to advocate for these programs to remain in the 2018 Farm Bill.

Please let your members of Congress know local, sustainable food matters to you and urge them to protect LAMP and CSP at http://moenvironment.org/farmbill2018. Tell them, “We love LAMP!”

Look for MCE online @moenviron and @moenvironment.