Welcome to the August 2021 edition of The Buzz. Things are heating up—and I’m not just talking about the weather. The CFSA Policy Team continues to lobby at the state level. We are advocating for initiatives that support small and mid-scale farms, local food businesses, and everyone who wants to strengthen local and regional food systems in the Carolinas.
South Carolina continues to debate American Rescue Plan fund appropriations, and we are pushing for an expansion of the state’s livestock processing infrastructure, increased support for the state’s food hub network, and more funds for the existing GAP cost-share program. We are also laying the foundation for a productive 2022 state legislative push on several important policy issues. It might seem early, but the pre-filing date for bills will be here before you know it!
In North Carolina, our focus has been on the 2021-2022 state budget. One of our major priorities is $2 million of funding for CFSA’s FarmsSHARE program. For those not familiar, FarmsSHARE was created as a response to the need for emergency food relief due to the pandemic; it provides a free, weekly box of locally-grown food from 80 small, sustainable Carolina farms to households in need across North Carolina.
In fantastic news, the NC House of Representatives included the requested funding in their budget proposal. This is a huge first step in securing state support to continue FarmsSHARE and a win for local farms, food hubs, and people in need of healthy food. Next, the NC House and Senate will appoint a joint committee to work out the differences between the two chambers’ spending proposals. We will be working to make sure this funding is in the NC House and NC Senate’s compromise final budget!