Seattle Farm Bill Principles Released

City Councilmember Richard Conlin just put out this press release, announcing the City of Seattle 2012 Farm Bill Principles, which CAGJ and many organizations we work with were a part of drafting.  A great step in moving towards influencing a Food and Farm Bill in 2012 that supports people and the planet!

FOR MORE INFORMATION CONTACT: Laura Lockard, (206) 684-8159

Council President Richard Conlin

City of Seattle leading the way in promoting healthy farms, food, and people
in the 2012 Farm Bill
Council President Conlin joins local civic leaders and farmers
in pursuit of health-centered national policy

Seattle Council President Richard Conlin today joined with local civic leaders and farmers to announce a new initiative to promote sustainable health-centered agriculture policies, the Seattle Farm Bill Principles. The goal of this effort is to provide guidance to Congress on the importance of access to fresh and nutritious food and other critical issues as they begin considering the 2012 renewal of the Farm Bill. The principles offer a new set of values and policies to guide decisions nationally.

The Seattle City Council noted the importance of the Farm Bill to sustainable food systems in Resolution 31019, which created Seattle’s Local Food Action Initiative. Providing safe and healthy food in urban areas is only possible if we can protect farmland, sustain farmers and enhance local and regional food systems.

“Seattle has become a leader in strengthening local and regional food systems. Seattle, along with other municipalities, has a stake in the economic well-being and health of our residents and the Farm Bill has significant impacts on our communities,” stated Seattle City Council President Richard Conlin. “We face multiple health, social, and environmental problems connected to food consumption and production. We believe it is imperative that national policy advances the health of people and the environment,”

These principles are a framework of values designed to encourage urban and rural leaders to join together in dialogue about the future of our food system. They offer direction for policies, regulations, programs, funding opportunities, technical support and research priorities that can lead to a healthy and sustainable food system if they are incorporated into the 2012 Farm Bill.

“The interaction of farmers from mid-scale family owned and operated farms in Eastern Washington with the community of Seattle, is essential to a sustainable regional food system,” stated Karl Kupers, co-founder of Shepherd’s Grain. “That relationship then must be extended to the leaders setting policies to aid in the creation of safe and reliable food.”

The Farm Bill is the primary piece of legislation that determines our nation’s food and agriculture policy. The 15 Farm Bill titles address important issues including supplemental nutrition assistance programs (SNAP, formally called food stamps), farm, trade, conservation, rural development, research, and food safety programs.

To help solve our nation’s many health, social, economic, and environmental challenges, the nation needs a comprehensive, health-focused food system that addresses the goals of hunger and disease reduction, local and family farm viability, food affordability and accessibility, environmental protection, land use planning, regional resilience, and social justice.

Good policy decisions are made through clear, transparent, and deliberative decision-making processes that involve the individuals and communities they affect. It is important that rural, urban, and suburban communities all have a voice in determining the policies that directly affect their economic and social well-being.

“The City of Seattle’s food policy work is very forward thinking. As a farmer, I applaud Seattle’s effort to build connections between urban and rural communities”, stated Siri Erickson-Brown, co-owner of Local Roots Farm in King County. “Sound food and agriculture policy is only possible with the involvement of both farming communities and cities.”

Local and regional farms contribute significantly to both rural and urban economies. In 2007, farms in the 12 Puget Sound counties had sales of $1.1 billion. In addition to agriculture, the food system which includes local processing, distribution, and retail provide jobs and are essential to our economy.

“I am happy to endorse the Seattle Farm Bill Principles. Seattle has developed a set of well thought out recommendations that will affect the direction of farm and food policy in the 2012 Farm Bill,” added Mary Embleton, Executive Director, Cascade Harvest Coalition. “The principles are forward-looking in that they ultimately tie together the economic, environmental, health, and food access needs of both urban and rural communities for the benefit of all.”

For more information please visit www.seattlefarmbillprinciples.org

Founding Co-Signers

* Richard Conlin, President, Seattle City Council
* Denis Hayes, President, Bullitt Foundation, National Coordinator of first Earth Day
* James Kelly, CEO, Urban League of Metropolitan Seattle
* Dr. David Fleming, Director, Public Health Seattle-King County
* Mary Embleton, Executive Director, Cascade Harvest Coalition
* Trudy Bialic, Public Affairs Director, PCC Natural Markets
* Karl Kupers and Fred Fleming, Co-Founders of Shepherd’s Grain
* Reverend Dr. Robert L. Jeffrey, Executive Director, Clean Greens
* Siri Erickson-Brown, Co-Owner, Local Roots Farm
* Dr. David R. Montgomery, MacArthur Fellow and author of DIRT: The Erosion of Civilizations
* Andrew Stout, CEO-Founder, Full Circle Farm

Affiliations for identification purposes only

Posted in Food Justice Blog Posts, News.

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