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
From Grain to Plate Field Day
May 16, 2019
You are invited to Southwest Wisconsin for a rich exploration of why small grains like wheat, barley, oats and rye matter. Join us on Meadowlark Farm, Ridgeway, WI on Sunday, June 30, from 10:30 to 3:00. Take Exit 52 off of US Hwy 18/151, then follow the signs to the nearby farm. We will tour […]
Welcome Donale Richards, MFAI’s new Assistant Policy Director
Donale joined MFAI’s Policy Program last month. He was born and raised in Madison, Wisconsin. His American mother, Jamaican father and Gambian step-father were all seasoned cooks, preparing traditional meals for the family and for large gatherings. With a rich cultural upbringing, Donale was always inspired by his parents and understanding the power of connecting […]
GULFS Lesson at Badger Rock Middle School
May 14, 2019
After volunteering with Badger Rock’s garden class in South Madison for some time, coordinators of the GULFS Program (Growing Urban Leaders in Food Systems) at MFAI worked with an incredible team at Badger Rock to co-develop a new lesson featuring Associate Policy Director Devon Hamilton’s culinary trip to Benin, West Africa. The lesson, entitled Food […]
Conservation Stewardship Program sign-up by May 10, 2019
April 9, 2019
As after every Farm Bill, USDA is in the process of developing the rules and processes for implementing programs authorized in the Farm Bill. Thus, we’re happy that USDA’s Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) has announced that farmers have until May 10, 2019, to sign up for an important voluntary “working lands” conservation program we’ve […]
“The Cooking Gene” Culinary Tour of Benin/Togo
April 8, 2019
Early last month, MFAI’s Associate Policy Director Devon Hamilton traveled on a life changing trip to Benin/Togo on a Black chef culinary tour hosted by chef, historian, and author Michael Twitty. This trip, the second of its kind, was organized by Roots to Glory Tours, a travel agency with a mission to connect Black people […]