REAP applauds the Governor’s and DATCP’s focus on Wisconsin farmers and food. On Friday, February 5, Governor Evers announced a $43M investment in local farms and food systems in the upcoming state budget. The plan is wide reaching but we are excited to see the unprecedented focus on small farms, local food system infrastructure and higher investment in conservation programs – initiatives that bring us all closer to a just local and sustainable food system in Wisconsin.
Our friends at Wisconsin Farmers Union do a terrific job of advocating for good food farmers at the State Capitol and their analysis of the budget initiatives is a great resource if you want to dive deeper.
Governor Evers’ budget incluces the following investments (a full list of the proposed actions found here):
- Invest $20M to help connect Wisconsin food banks and pantries with Wisconsin producers;
- Fund the Farm-to-School Grant Program ($400K over biennium);
- Create and Fund Farm-to-Fork to build connections between farmers and non-school entities looking to purchase local food for their cafeterias ($552K over biennium);
- Increase the Buy Local, Buy Wisconsin program ($350K over biennium);
- Provide additional funding for Something Special from Wisconsin marketing program ($400K over biennium);
- Create and fund a Small Farm Diversity Grant program – support producers adding new products, increasing production of an ag product where market opportunities exist, or starting a new farming operation ($250K over biennium).
“Coming out of a brutal pandemic, these initiatives are a wise and welcome investment in rural revitalization and food security,” says REAP Executive Director Helen Sarakinos. “This budget represents a needed first step to rebuild resilience in our food system so Wisconsin farmers can feed Wisconsin residents.”
Every day, REAP works with our partners and supporters to develop local food supply chains, strengthen connections between community and farmers and grow the voices calling for a resilient food system. We couldn’t agree more that it’s time to join this fight for Wisconsin farmers to ensure a good future in Wisconsin for farmers, for eaters and for our clean water and land. REAP has advocated for funding Farm to School grants and programs in DATCP, for COVID-19 relief payments to benefit small and beginning farmers and we have worked hard to support farms that were hard-hit when closures of farmers’ markets and businesses shut down their sales.
So, what can you do?
Sign up to receive our weekly newsletter to stay on top of REAP’s work and opportunities to get involved. You should also follow us on Facebook and Instagram, where we post thought-provoking articles about food and sustainability. We will be posting updates and sharing additional opportunities to act in the coming months
Voice your support!
We ask you to take a moment to thank Governor Evers for valuing small farms and local food systems and for walking the walk. Let them know this budget reflects what matters to Wisconsin residents! Your email or phone call mattes and it only takes a moment.
Call: Governor’s Office: 608-266-1212,
Email: share your approval online at this site.
It doesn’t have to be long, simply state who you are and why you are excited to see these initiatives in the budget.
Let your legislators know you support these investments in Wisconsin farms and food. There is going to be lots of pressure to roll back these initiatives in the legislatures so elected officials need to know these initiatives reflect what their voters care about. Find your legislator here and call and email them to voice your support for investment in family farms and food systems.
This is especially important if your Senator or Representative sits on the committee that deliberates the budget. Here are the members of the Joint Committee on Finance: