Letter: Keep local market program in farm bill

Graphic by Lori Deaton

Too many small and midsize farmers face an uphill battle getting their food to buyers. As staff at the Carolina Farm Stewardship Association, we’ve seen how the farm bill can boost or crush efforts to build a local food supply chain. Join us in supporting a critical program proposed in the 2018 Farm Bill: the Local Agricultural Market Program.

With LAMP, North Carolina farmers will more easily connect with nearby purchasers, whether through our schools, hospitals or farmers markets. More customers mean better financial security, ultimately allowing farmers to offer better wages and steadier work to their teams. Selling more local food leads to farm profitability and more robust economic development communitywide.

LAMP, which is in the current Senate farm bill, would make key investments in local and regional food programs. As a result, farmers, farm workers and customers can all benefit. According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture, local food was a $8.7 billion market in 2015. Projections indicate that local food will reach $20 billion in sales by 2019. Local farmers power an economic engine we need in today’s economy — one that’s good for farmers, workers, consumers and the environment.

It’s not enough to just vote with your fork. Farmers need more.

Help us shine a LAMP on local food by calling Congress … to make sure LAMP stays in the 2018 Farm Bill. Local food does more than feed our bodies: It makes North Carolina thrive.

— Sarah Bostick, Mark Dempsey, Glenn Kern and Ashley See
Carolina Farm Stewardship Association


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