The U.S. Department of Agriculture is weighing how to spend $9.5 billion in relief for farmers, ranchers and local food systems, already allocated by Congress under the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act. Many California family farmers are struggling as a result of marketplace challenges, including shuttered farmers markets, closed restaurants and schools, and problems in local distribution. From March to May alone, the local food economy in the U.S. is expected to lose $1.32 billion. We need to ensure that solutions to the Covid-19 pandemic reach the most vulnerable in our communities, from farm to fork.
Congress needs to ensure these dollars actually reach small and mid-scale California farmers and that the allocation of resources to them and our food systems are simple, equitable and fair. Aid outreach to farmers should target smaller farmers, limited resource farmers, and farmers of color. At least $1 billion should serve farmers suffering significant losses and engaged in the Local and Regional Food System (LRFS).
Hi, my name is _______________ and I farm in (or “I support farmers in”) ____________ (City/Town, California). Many family farmers in California are struggling, given significant changes in the food system and marketplace as a result of coronavirus, and need immediate support. I urge you to work with the U.S. Department of Agriculture to get the $9.5 billion in resources you already allocated out the door as equitably and quickly as possible, particularly to small, local farmers and local food systems. Restaurant closures and local food distribution are in shambles, and communities need the food farmers are growing so please ensure that local food systems see at least $1 billion of this funding. Thank you for your time.