Monday, January 22, 2007

Food System News

Three pieces of news to report about our Food System: one local, one regional and one national.

Local first: Neighborhood Parks Council just released this Action Alert. A meeting today at San Francisco's City Hall will address this legislation:

Ross Mirkarimi, Supervisor for District 5, is introducing legislation to authorize Farmers' Markets to be located on Recreation and Park Department (RPD) property and for the Agricultural Commissioner to work with RPD to identify suitable sites for Farmers' Markets.

Public markets have provided an opportunity for communities to gather in their city centers worldwide for centuries. Our city parks frequently are the organic center of our neighborhoods. Dozens of examples from around the country wherein Parks and Recreation departments are playing leadership roles in helping farmers’ markets flourish are evident. San Francisco should be counted among those cities that support innovative approaches to using parks that also happen to be revenue generators that support recreation and parks.

NPC supports this ordinance with the understanding that a careful process of community engagement and consultation is carried out before any neighborhood or park improvement is made, and that a net benefit to the park occurs as a result.

Regionally, Om Organics put together this great web resource describing our Food System here in the Bay Area and the many organizations working to make it healthier for people and the environment.

Nationally, we should all start thinking about the US Farm Bill that will be voted on this year. A new book will be out in March entitled Food Fight: A Citizen's Guide to the Farm Bill by Daniel Imhoff and Roberto Carra. I'm hoping this resource will help prepare us to understand this legislation and make our voices heard. According to the book:
The Farm Bill is perhaps the single most significant land use legislation enacted in the United States, yet many citizens remain fairly unaware of its power or scope. With subsidies ballooning toward $25 billion per year, the Farm Bill largely dictates who grows what crops, on what acreage, and under what conditions — all with major impacts on the country’s rural economies, health and nutrition, national security, and biodiversity.
Keep an eye out for more ways to vote as a citizen and as a consumer for a healthier and more sustainable food system!


Abby RJ said...

Update from NPC:
"Last week we sent an email alert asking you to support current legislation that would allow farmers' markets in neighborhood parks, and we are happy to report that the Farmers' Market Legislation passed upon first reading by the full Board of Supervisors on January 30th."

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