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
A Trip to the Bayou – Fishermen and Farmers Bond Over Seafood and Nutrients
April 12, 2017
The Institute’s Policy Director, Margaret Krome, says she never ate so much delicious seafood in her life. With eleven others – farmers, cameramen, and reporters – Krome traveled to the bayous of Terrebonne Parish, Louisiana in late March to reciprocate a visit to Southwest Wisconsin last September from three fishermen families. They had come up […]
Farm Tour and Seafood – SAVE THE DATE
Thursday, May 25, 2017 Wisconsin Conservation Farming With Gulf Seafood! Join Iowa County’s Farmer-Led Watershed Group for a Tour of 2 grazing farms followed by brats and seafood 9:30 a.m. Butler Family Farm (Ann and David Zimrin), 5044 Wiest Rd, Spring Green 11:30 a.m. Hillside Pastures Farm (Daniel and Linda Marquardt), 6511 Hillside School Rd, […]
Leadership and Service Award to MFAI’s Devon Hamilton
The Harvey Meyerhoff Undergraduate Excellence Awards for Leadership, Service and Scholarship has announced that MFAI’s own Assistant Policy Director, Devon Hamilton, will be one of its 2017 awardees. Named after a 1948 graduate of UW-Madison, these awards recognize students who have made outstanding leadership and service contributions to the University and/or the surrounding communities while […]
“Sustainable” the documentary
March 28, 2017
Available on Amazon, Netflix, or VHX A vital investigation of the economic and environmental instability of America’s food system, from the agricultural issues we face — soil loss, water depletion, climate change, pesticide use — to the community of leaders who are determined to fix it. Sustainable is a film about the land, the people who […]
Growing Urban Leaders in Food Systems (GULFS)
March 16, 2017
OVERVIEW GULFS is a dynamic, interactive, and engaging youth-centered curriculum developing youth leaders in food systems change. Focused in Milwaukee and Madison, we aim for youth to learn constructive ways to create tangible change and support their families’ and communities’ well-being through a food systems lens. The curriculum is written for teachers to use both […]