LOS ANGELES, CA (PRWEB) May 17, 2014
Seedstock today applauded the USDA’s recent announcement of a historic $78 million investment in local and regional food systems as further recognition of the growth and importance of urban, sustainable agriculture in the United States.
Seedstock, the nation’s leading social venture promoting the development of robust and sustainable local food systems, said support from the 2014 Farm Bill will encourage expansion of distribution systems and other critical components of the local food supply infrastructure.
“Consumer demand for locally-grown food continues to expand at a very rapid pace. This has created opportunities for new and existing farmers to start or expand their operations. But this growth also has presented challenges when it comes to aggregation and distribution,” said Robert Puro, Seedstock’s Co-founder. “The USDA’s investment is a great start to creating more jobs and supporting all components of urban, sustainable food production and delivery.”
Puro said timing for federal assistance is ideal: Local, regional and state governments across the country are exploring ways to keep land available and affordable for farming as well as provide financial assistance and other programs to entrepreneurs seeking to start or expand urban, sustainable farms.
“More importantly, this federal government support has the potential to boost the confidence of investors who are looking to enter or expand their holdings in organic farms, delivery and distribution systems, and technology,” Puro said.
The nearly $80 million – $48 million in loan guarantees and $30 million for competitive grants – announced by the USDA is in addition to other measures contained in the Farm Bill that support urban, sustainable agriculture.
For instance, federal crop insurance is now extended to independent producers; grants are available for healthy food initiatives in many cities; food stamps are worth double at farmers markets; and $30 million is earmarked for farmers market and local food promotions and marketing.
“When you add up these and other measures, small-scale urban farming is becoming more accessible and affordable,” Puro said. “Until recently, many enterprising farm operators – like those featured on Seedstock.com and at our conferences – have succeeded strictly through innovation, unique partnerships and determination. Now, the local food system is becoming more stable, comprehensive and attractive to investors.”
The 2014 Farm Bill, Puro said, also comes at a time when cities are initiating more programs to eliminate “food deserts” by bringing fresh, nutritious produce directly into those urban areas without readily available delivery systems or adequate access.
“We’re at a very exciting time when it comes to locally produced food. Demand is up. More producers are making the leap. The creation of more streamlined local food supply chains means we are reducing the distance between crops and plates,” Puro said. “As more local and urban farms begin supplying cities, we create a more sustainable food system.”
Seedstock is a social venture that fosters the development of robust and sustainable local food systems through consulting services and the use of a variety of tools, including the news and information blog Seedstock (http://www.Seedstock.com ) and live events. Seedstock works with government agencies, municipalities and all private sector stakeholders to create a sustainable food ecosystem of innovation, entrepreneurship and investment.