The Spokane Food Policy Council urges everyone interested in Washington’s agricultural future to contact your state legislators: Support full funding of the Sustainable Farms and Fields Program and pass HB 1631 to set up the technical assistance network for farmers.
Find your legislator:
Sustainable Farms and Fields (SFF) is a new program that makes it easier and more affordable for farmers and ranchers to implement more climate-smart practices and projects that increase carbon sequestration and reduce greenhouse gas emissions. Through SFF, farmers and ranchers may receive free services — such as on-farm consultations, climate-smart farm plans, and other technical expertise — and financial assistance to help cover the cost of eligible projects, equipment, seed for cover crops, and other expenses. Sustainable Farms and Fields Website.
The Spokane Food Policy Council supported the creation of this new program during the last Washington State legislative session.
This year, the state legislature has the opportunity to appropriate the funds to establish the financial assistance part of the program. In addition, a bill has been introduced, HB 1631, that provides for a network of advisors at conservation districts to provide technical support for farmers enrolled in the Sustainable Farms and Fields program. This will be a vital educational conduit with the potential to improve many farmers’ ability to build their
soil resources which is key to climate-resilient, climate-smart agriculture.
The Spokane Food Policy Council supports full funding of the Sustainable Farms and Fields Program and providing technical support helping farmers adopt more climate-friendly management practices.
HB 1631 is before the House Appropriations Committee in Olympia, a powerful committee that controls the state’s purse strings. One of our local state legislators, Timm Ormsby (Dist. 3) is Chair of the Appropriations Committee.
The Spokane Food Policy Council wrote a letter to Rep. Ormsby in support of the Sustainable Farms and Fields Program. Here is the text of our letter:
315 John L. O’Brien Building
PO Box 40600
Olympia, WA 98504
February 4, 2022
Dear Rep. Ormsby,
We are contacting you today in support of HB 1631, Supporting Washington’s food production system by providing technical assistance in support of improved voluntary environmental stewardship.
The Spokane Food Policy Council was formed in 2013 with the mission to advance policies and initiatives that foster a resilient food system in the Spokane area; a system that is healthy and equitable for its residents, economy and environment.
In 2022, the Food Policy Council is publishing our Spokane Regional Food Action Plan (SRFAP) that was compiled with input from food system stakeholders including growers, processors, distributors, retailers, consumers and professional composters.
Among the recommendations in the SRFAP is included “Support sustainable food systems and urban agriculture education.” HB 1631 provides for a network of advisors at conservation districts to provide technical support for farmers enrolled in the Sustainable Farms and Fields program. This will be a vital educational conduit with the potential to improve many farmers’ ability to build their soil resources which is key to climate-resilient, climate-smart agriculture.
The Spokane Sustainability Action Plan recently adopted by the City of Spokane aligns with the intent of the Sustainable Farms and Fields legislation when it states “if people who live in Spokane eat more locally grown food, we will create a more resilient local food system, strengthen our economy and reduce climate impacts associated with transporting food great distances. Citizens, neighborhoods, growers, food-related businesses, non-profit organizations and local governments need to work together to take the far-reaching actions that are needed to localize and strengthen Spokane’s food system.” Fully funding and enabling the Sustainable Farms and Fields Program is one such far-reaching action that must be taken.The Spokane Food Policy Council supports full funding of the Sustainable Farms and Fields Program this legislative session. By providing funding to farmers along with technical support, helping them to adopt more climate-friendly management practices, we conserve and improve precious agricultural soils into the future, and we improve the long-term viability of currently working farms– a prerequisite for localizing and strengthening local and regional food systems in Washington state.
Please vote to support HB 1631 and full funding of the Sustainable Farms and Fields Program.
The Spokane Food Policy Council