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FARM BILL: CFJC Public Policy Meeting Notes – 2/22 call

March 12, 2012
by Admin

Each month, CFJC hosts a conference call for all those working on policy: regarding Farm Bill 2012 as well as other regional initiatives.  To join or get more info, email yanieto@cafoodjustice.org.

CFJC Updates

  • 12 Ventura County Mothers Taking Action (MTA) leaders graduated, will be facilitating discussion sessions with community members on healthy eating and active living
  • Working on state and national level on food policy reform
  • For anyone wishing to join CFJC, please follow up with Christina at cspach@cafoodjustice.org

SD Hunger Action Coalition Updates

  • City passed progressive urban ag law
  • Residents can have up to two goats, chickens in their back yard
  • Farmers markets on public and private property
  • Farm stands on commercially zoned areas
  • Sales at community garden sites

 Alameda County Community Food Bank (ACCFB) Updates

  • Rally February 29th in protest of CalWorks cuts governor Brown is proposing
  • Expecting about 200 CalWorks parents storming the Capitol
  • If you are interested in getting involved, get in touch with Ecaterina Burton at eburton@accfb.org

 Public Health Institute (PHI) Updates

  • On March 6th, Health Committees are doing a joint hearing on prevention and public health in CA
  • PHI providing tech assistance to organizers
  • PHI wants to highlight local innovative project addressing chronic disease and access to healthy food. If anyone has such a project that has been a success, email Armando yanieto@cafoodjustice.org or Matthew at matthew.marsom@phi.org
    — Tiffany: Roots of Change has partnered with a statewide consortium working on the “double up bucks” program in 14 counties
    — Sadie: Local contact for the Fresh Fund Program in San Diego is Anchi Mei of International Rescue Commission. This program is phasing out.
    — LA Food Policy Council (Susan Haymer): LAFPC is exploring which farmers markets to target with “double up bucks”. In early stages of committee hearing.

EWG Updates

  • Keep an eye out for a sign-on letter to CBSA and State Board of Ag to support Local Food, Farms, and Jobs Act

California Food Policy Advocates (CFPA) Updates

  • Moving towards a big “breakfast in the classroom” program
  • Starting in 200 elementary schools, thousands of classrooms—serves all students universally in participating schools
  • Scaling up provision of fruit and education on fruit
  • Only one school in Oakland
  • Brings in revenue: $15-25 million
  • CFPA office is sponsoring 5 state legislative bills, including one to reduce amount of sidewalk vending of ice cream and unhealthy snacks outside of schools
  • Gourmet food trucks are pushing back and have had press coverage stating their position
  • Reach out to Matthew for more resources or information on any of these topics: matt@cfpa.net
  • In Oakland, one school has tried a similar program, which was written up in newspapers

Farm Bill Updates

  • Matthew has been in stakeholder meetings in DC for 2 weeks, including with Sen. Debbie Stabenow
  • Senate continuing hearings in March. March 7th hearing changed to March 14th
  • Senate will do markups by May
  • Stabenow will be a champion on nutrition, local/regional food systems, increased access
  • to healthy foods—but notes that we have to expect some cuts in Nutrition Title.
  • In this climate, being a champion on these issues is tough. There will be cuts in Nutrition
  • title, but not the level that Republicans are proposing ($100 million)
  • PHI and others (anti-hunger, farming, food security, etc. groups) have put together a list
  • of priorities for the Farm Bill
  • Matthew will send updated nutrition priorities list to Armando/CFJC
    — Will be posted at PHI, and will let people know of the link
    — Armando suggested CFJC post the priorities on their website too

Healthy Food Financing Initiative Updates (Kamaal Martin, working for Assembly Speaker John Perez)

  • AB 581 (Healthy Food Financing Initiative) signed into law October 10, 2011
  • This bill hopes to increase access to food in food deserts
  • It is the first piece of legislation in CA that recognizes poverty as a public health issue and its relationship to chronic disease
  • COIN (California Organized Investment Network) is acting as the convening body for funds. Insurance companies come together to reinvest back in the community (primarily to avoid litigation for not doing so). COIN matches these funds with projects in communities.
  • There needs to be effort from communities to submit food access proposals that are ambitious in scope to avoid big-box developers from moving in to local markets
  • Social benefits of investment: and increased number of gardens, farmers markets, farmers stands, and grocery stores
  • There is money in the program, but people shouldn’t be queuing up yet. There will be education on the COIN process prior to the release of funds
  • How are people tracking this law?
    — Allison: Policy Link is tracking it, but they are still in the research phase
    — Matthew Sharpe: How does this compliment Fresh Works Fund? What are the differences? We need to know the details and differences in order to make reflective referrals
    — CFJC will explore this question
    — Armando will follow up with Allison and Kamaal, then report back to the group
    — Others interested should get in touch with Armando
  • Let’s appoint people to work with COIN to make sure the money gets to the communities that need it
  • Two advisory boards
    — COIN: to help COIN staff determine how funds will be used; looking for 3 insurance company execs, 2 fair housing advocates, 1-2 food policy experts, 2 “at large” bids; Applications due March 1st; First convening March 22; 2 year appointment; Appears they might already have who they’re looking for. Kamaal encourages us to reach out to State Advisory Board for Ag to see if this is the case, and how it could be made more transparent
    — CDFA: taking point on defining what “benefit” means for these projects; Should already have been meeting but board is still forming CFJC will create an informational request letter and send to the Secretary of CDFA so
    that everyone on the call can read more about this law, COIN and CDFA advisory boards

Other DC updates

  • California Food Policy Advocates: Going to DC this weekend; Will give us updates after
  • EWG: Senate having 2nd Farm Bill hearing on Conservation, and the line up is not encouraging

Getting Our Act Together (GOAT)

  • Started to be put together by the Rural Coalition at the Food Justice Conference in Oakland
  • Brought together ethnic farmers, hunger groups, CFJC, NSAC, etc.
  • This diverse group came to consensus on the bottom line for the Farm Bill to be equity.
  • The group is compiling a spreadsheet on where our groups can work together
  • Members are reaching out about different titles in the Farm Bill, including Conservation

State Level

  • Cottage Law (Christina Oatfield of Sustainable Economies Law Center)
  • AB 1616 California Homemade Food Act just introduced in assembly
  • Allows people to make and sell non-hazardous foods from non-licensed home kitchen
    — Foods that don’t need to be refrigerated, e.g. dried fruit, baked goods, honey
    — Similar to “Cottage Food Laws” passed in 31 other states
    — Trying to get the word out to demonstrate strong grassroots support
    — If your organization or network wants to sign on or spread the word, please contact Christina Oatfield at christinaoatfield@gmail.com
    — Kari suggested information on the Cottage Law (AB 1616) be shared with the Council of Council members in order to garner support
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