MFU member and family farm advocate Kathy Zeman testifies before U.S. House Ag subcommittee about local foods
Feb. 11, 2020
Local and regional food systems have grown tremendously in recent decades, in Minnesota and nationwide. Minnesota Farmers Union (MFU), a grassroots family farm organization, has been at the forefront of this movement, vocally supporting policies and funding that boost local agriculture. The Minnesota Farmers’ Market Association (MFMA) furthers that work by promoting farmers’ markets across Minnesota and providing educational services.
Kathy Zeman, who is an organic livestock farmer, Rice County Farmers Union member and Executive Director of MFMA, testified today on the importance of local food programs before the U.S. House Subcommittee on Biotechnology, Horticulture and Research, a subcommittee of the House Agriculture Committee.
Zeman spoke about federal grant programs housed under the umbrella of the Local Agriculture Market Program (LAMP). A few of the topics she addressed include:
- The growth of farmers’ markets nationwide
- The relationship between farmers’ markets and farmers’ income
- How programs like Minnesota’s Market Bucks help low-income Minnesotans on the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) access locally grown food
- A Farmers Market Promotion Program grant that gave the University of Minnesota the opportunity to collect data on Twin Cities-area farmers’ markets.
“Local food, whether direct-to-consumer via farmers’ markets or through other marketing channels, has cemented itself as an important feature of the food system in the state of Minnesota and throughout the United States, in urban and rural communities alike. In order to help local and regional food systems continue to mature, they need strong investment from well-designed federal programs, for which LAMP and its subprograms play a leading role,” Zeman said in her prepared testimony. “I look forward to working with Congress and United States Department of Agriculture to continue to improve and grow these programs so that farmers and eaters, and the communities in which they are embedded, can thrive.”
The hearing can be viewed at https://agriculture.house.gov/calendar/eventsingle.aspx?EventID=1615.
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