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
“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 […]
“Circle of Poison” Film Screening
March 17, 2017
FREE viewing, Thursday, April 6th, 2017, 6:30 pm Do you know once a pesticide is banned in the United States for its dangerous health and environmental effects, companies are still permitted to manufacture it for export. This policy sends a message to the world that American lives are more valuable, yet ironically these toxic pesticides […]
MFAI and Wisconsin farmer visit Washington, D.C.
For most of the country, March Madness means hoops, dunks, squeaky sneakers on basketball courts, and office pools around team brackets. But on Capitol Hill, it means citizens flying in to Washington to talk about the following year’s appropriations priorities. Wisconsin is fortunate to now have not just one but two agricultural appropriators among our […]
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 […]
WI Conservation Farmers to visit the Gulf
The conservation farmers with whom MFAI works in Iowa County were grateful for a visit from Louisiana fishermen last September. After the fishermen traveled up (with delicious seafood) to discuss with us how their livelihoods depend on the water quality coming down the Mississippi River from farms in the Upper Midwest (see the VIDEO here), […]