Law and Policy: Their Role in Creating the New Agriculture S31
Agricultural Law Center, Drake University Law School, Des Moines, Iowa 50311 USA.
|While economic forces threaten traditional
agriculture, other developments provide optimism for creating a healthy food system.
Thousands of farmers, consumers, educators, community activists, marketers, and chefs are
working to build a better food system. This emerging network of people and ideas may
represent a New Agriculture because in many ways it differs from past attitudes. The New
Agriculture is devoted to producing quality food and creating opportunities for people to
experience satisfaction in a healthy food system. It is an agriculture which sustains
people, resources and communities, and educates consumers about how both the quality of
food they eat and the system which produces it affects them. It preserves its heritage and
builds a future for participants. Fundamentally it is a food system which re-establishes
linkages in society, builds community, and increases understanding.
The new agriculture is best defined by its components and the forces driving them. The concept encompasses a range of issues. This article considers how public policy and laws, at the federal, state and local level, are helping promote the following aspects of the New Agriculture:
1) Organizing farmers committed to producing quality food and sustainable agriculture, 2) Innovative food retailers changing what consumers buy, 3) - Farmer s markets creating opportunities for local food production, 4) Organic food laws expanding markets and creating optimism, 5) Community supported agriculture and buying a share of your farmer s produce, 6) Community food systems unifying urban agriculture from community gardens to education, 7) Preserving agricultures heritage through living farm museums and heirloom vegetables educating the public, 7) America s chefs changing what we eat and know about food, 8) Urban agricultural education exposing city kids to opportunities in agriculture, 9) Starting the next crop of farmers using matching programs to transfer farms as businesses, 10) Agricultural cooperative uniting small farmers to create opportunities, 11) Conserving and preserving the land on which agriculture depends.
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