Posted by: beyonddinner | January 7, 2009

local agricultural and food legislative news

In the Brookline Tab under the Beacon Hill Roll Call:

House 144-7, Senate 31-4, overrode Gov. Deval Patrick’s $319,732 reduction (from $5,506,927 to $5,187,195) in funding for programs in the Department of Agricultural Resources. The state’s Web site defines the Agricultural Department’s mission as one that “supports, promotes and enhances the long-term viability of Massachusetts agriculture with the aim of helping this state’s agricultural businesses become as economically and environmentally sound as possible.” The reduction also eliminated $10,000 in funding for the Massachusetts Specialty Foods Association, which describes itself as “a statewide nonprofit organization that serves as a resource to and advocate for the Massachusetts specialty foods industry.”

Supporters of keeping the $319,732 said that this crucial funding is needed to support the farming industry across the state and ensure that it remains viable. They noted that these farms produce locally grown products, and also help the state’s economy and environment.

also this:

The House gave initial approval to a bill creating a 21-member Massachusetts Food Policy Council to develop a comprehensive state food policy to enhance the economic viability of Massachusetts agriculture. The council would also be charged with promoting food security and the long-term sustainability of the state’s food supply; expanding production and consumption of locally produced foods and improving the nutritional health of consumers.

They don’t have a web site yet, but here’s a place that tracks these food councils and shows that someone from the Food Project is involved: http://www.foodsecurity.org/FPC/council.html

Both bits of news sound good and give me something to track for what’s happening in my state.

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