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Public influence and participation is a critical part in advocating for a sustainable food system that serves people and planet. We’ve seen firsthand how public support for smart policies that protect our environment, create economic opportunities for farmers and make our food production more sustainable makes a difference. Learn more about how you can support our work and make your voice be heard on big issues.

Current Take Action Opportunities

Strategic Economic and Community Development Rule
Public Comment Deadline: July 20, 2015

The US Department of Agriculture published an interim rule on the Strategic Economic and Community Development program under Section 6025 of the 2014 Farm Bill. This rule sets aside up to 10 percent of funds appropriated to a handful of Rural Development (RD) programs to focus some of the program funding on regional projects rather than a single community development plan. The goal is for funded projects to align with regional plans and build capacity for the long-term economic and community growth of regions, creating jobs and regional wealth in the process. In our partnership with the National Sustainable Agriculture Coalition, we supported this provision during the consideration process of the 2014 Farm Bill. This rule offers much-needed opportunities for regional rural development.

The 2014 Farm Bill also builds on the growing investment in value-added agriculture and local and regional food systems. Of particular note on that score, the new Strategic Economic and Community Development program includes the Local and Regional Food Enterprise guaranteed loan program that is a subset of the Business and Industry program.

Public comment for this rule is open until July 20, 2015.

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Expand Public Funding for Sustainable Agriculture
The USDA depends on public volunteer participation to serve on different panels that help prioritize projects up for public funds. As a grant reviewer – relevant subject expertise is necessary to be considered for service – you can help ensure sustainable agriculture projects that yield high-impact results help support change in our food system. In addition, reviewers with expertise on organic and sustainable food production draw attention to the importance our collective work on these issues.

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Protection for Pollinators from Harmful Neonic Pesticides
The Center for Food Safety is leading efforts to follow up on a Presidential Memorandum from the summer of 2014 that outlined a plan to “promote the health of honey bees and the pollinators” with a federal task force. More than 100 agricultural crops in the United States are dependent on pollinators for successful growth and harvest. Organic agriculture continues to lead the way on creating safe habitats for pollinator species, but more needs to be done to protect these incredible creatures and our food system.

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