In the last COVID aid package, congress approved $16 billion to support U.S. agriculture. But how much of that money found its way to the small family farmers who need it most? …Crumbs.
Of the 93 farmers that CAFF supported through our own grassroots fund, not one had received direct USDA support, as young farmers and farmers of color get overlooked all across the country.
Congress needs to hear the stories of farmers who’ve been impacted by COVID and those falling through the cracks of a safety net our government claims is meant to support them.
This week, the Senate is debating the next stimulus package and they need to hear from you! Join CAFF and fellow farmers and farm advocates by picking up your phone, sending an email and/or tagging your Senator (and your Congressperson) on social media, demanding that 1) the USDA make their farm support funding more accessible and equitable to all farmers, 2) that relief programs reach small farms and historically underserved famers, including farmers of color, and 3) that small family farms can more easily sell into emergency food programs.
You can also call our U.S. Senators from California and/or tag them on Twitter, using our letter text as your script, at:
Please support small family farms and invest in healthy, equitable local food systems in the next stimulus package. Despite the billions of dollars taxpayers have already invested to help American agriculture weather the COVID crisis, we are not seeing that aid reach our smaller, diversified family farms, especially not those from underserved communities.
But there’s hope! We have three requests that we know will ensure a more equitable recovery all while helping our family farms survive these tough times:
1) Congress needs to tell the USDA that in order better serve diversified farmers, farmers selling into direct markets, and farmers of color, they must reform the Coronavirus Food Assistance Program (CFAP) program, creating targeted direct support for producers left out of current aid programs by:
– Paying farmers for the losses they’ve experienced due to the disruption of their market channels (e.g. closure of restaurants, offices, farmers markets) rather than on which commodities they grow
– Prioritize outreach toward and reserve specific direct aid funds for historically underserved farmers and ranchers, including farmers of color
– Support farmers and farmers markets by also covering costs to pivot and retool their operations in response to the ongoing pandemic
2) Support the Food Supply Protection Act (Stabenow) which has numerous provisions to assist local food systems and includes several equity-focused provisions, such as funds for and outreach to beginning and historically underserved farmers, including farmers of color, while reducing barriers to applying.
3) Support the Expanding SNAP Options Act of 2020 (Durbin) which would expand online SNAP sales nationwide and make it easier for farmers and markets to accept SNAP sales online, expanding food options beyond just Walmart and Amazon.