CISA’s Legislative Priorities
Each year on Ag Day, Massachusetts farmers and agricultural groups bring a taste of Massachusetts farming to the State House in Boston. Featuring lots of great local food and real discussions about Massachusetts farms, Ag Day is an opportunity to engage lawmakers on issues important to the agricultural community. CISA staff members meet with State Reps from western Massachusetts to remind them about the importance of Buy Local funding, ask for their continued support for our Senior FarmShare program, and advocate for the farming community’s legislative priorities. With help from Local Hero members, we source ingredients to highlight the local bounty farmers in this region provide for residents in the state.
2018 Legislative Priorities
Department of Agricultural Resources, MA Buy Local funding: 2511-0100
Through funding for the state’s Buy Local campaigns, CISA has been able to expand our outreach to consumers through our successful Be a Local Hero, Buy Locally Grown® program. Local business members overwhelming say that participation in this program leads to increased revenues and national research suggests that areas with active Buy Local campaigns have more robust sales, even in times of economic weakness.
The Mass. Coalition of Local Food and Farms, including CISA, are asking for a $500K increase to the Department of Agricultural Resources line 2511-0100, with the following language: “… provided further, that not less than $500,000 shall be expended to enhance the Buy Local effort in western, central, northeastern, and southeastern Massachusetts.”
You can read the Coalition’s full legislative proposal here.
Executive Office of Elder Affairs, Senior FarmShare: 9110-1900
Through the Senior FarmShare program, CISA provides over 400 low-income seniors in western Massachusetts with heavily subsidized access to 10 weeks of fresh vegetables grown by local farms.
CISA is asking for a $50,000 increase to the line item 9110-1900 of the Office of Elder Affairs with the language: “For the elder nutrition program; provided, that $50,000 shall be expended for the Senior FarmShare program.”
Dept. of Transitional Assistance, Healthy Incentives Program: 4400-1001
The Healthy Incentives Program, which doubles SNAP recipients’ purchases of fresh fruits and vegetables directly from farmers: $6,200,000.
Department of Agricultural Resources, Healthy Incentives Program: 2511-0100
Community partners across the state, including buy local organizations, food banks, hunger organizations, and farmers’ market groups worked together to ensure the Healthy Incentives Program successfully engaged over 36,000 households and over 200 farms statewide.
The community partners, including CISA, are asking for an increase to the Department of Agricultural Resources line 2511-0100, with the following language: “… provided that not less than $275,000 shall be provided to Community Involved in Sustaining Agriculture to administer a statewide program of services by community partners to provide educational, technical, promotional, and other support to farmers and participants in the Healthy Incentives Program administered by the Dept. of Transitional Assistance.”