No single policy is designed to address all aspects of sustainable agriculture, and many serve farmers who would not characterize themselves as sustainable agriculture adherents as well as those who would. But taken as a whole, policies help move the nation’s agriculture toward a more environmentally, economically and socially sustainable future.
Our policy program empowers citizens to use democratic processes to direct government resources to support sustainable agriculture’s many objectives. For example, Michael Fields coordinates the national sustainable agriculture movement’s annual grassroots campaign to obtain funding for sustainable agriculture programs. We meet with agency staff to encourage proper administration of programs we have helped create and improve.
They might be federal marketing programs like the Farmers Market Promotion Program or Conservation Stewardship Program. Or possibly policies such as measures to reform the direct farm payments in the federal commodity programs.
In Wisconsin, we advance programs such as the new Buy Local Buy Wisconsin program and Farm to School program, whose legislative passage Michael Fields coordinated and led. We also promote managed grazing, bioenergy, new markets and opportunities, local food, agricultural innovation, and the next generation of farmers.
Michael Fields also works to build the capacity of the sustainable movement. For example, we cultivate new leadership through our policy internships, build the grassroots power base that helps our movement achieve its many victories, and offer grantwriting workshops to help farmers and ranchers nationwide access federal programs’ resources.
Latest Public Policy Posts
Devon Hamilton Live Forward Award Recipient
September 19, 2018
Early this November, Assistant Policy Director Devon Hamilton will be honored as one of three recipients of Sustain Dane’s Live Forward Award for his work at Michael Fields, TradeRoots Culinary Collective, and volunteer work with various groups such as the Mellowhood Foundation, REAP Food Group, and Badger Rock Middle School. The award celebrates local change-makers […]
Water Infiltration Farm Tour, and Lunch
July 30, 2018
We had hoped for at least 100 participants at our July 27 Uplands Watershed Farm Tour, but as RSVPs kept coming in, we ordered more food, and then again more. So there were 120 of us gathered that sunny, breezy morning at Joe and Theresa Stapleton’s farm in Spring Green to talk about water infiltration […]
GULFS Summer Programming
This Summer, our GULFS Program partnered with the Mellowhood Foundation through a joint grant through the city of Madison to pilot three new lessons with their youth to help them start their own hot pickle business. We invited a local teacher and chef in the South Madison community to teach the youth how to pickle […]
Senate needs to prevail in farm bill negotiations
July 10, 2018
The U.S. Senate passed its farm bill 86-11 at the end of June, following the House’s having squeaked out passage of its own deplorable version, 213-211. Both houses’ actions reflect the importance of getting a bill passed quickly, before the current farm bill expires on Sept. 30, without becoming ensnarled in election-year campaign politics. Six […]
Join us for an edifying and unique dining experience!
Friday, August 24, 2018, 6:00 pm There are a few seats left! Get your tickets today! Enjoy fresh Gulf seafood, farm fresh produce, organic wine and local beer in the Institute’s beautiful Big Brown Barn! Celebrating Wisconsin Farmers and Gulf Fishermen working together to conserve the ecosystems and water quality of the Mississippi River […]