Earlier today I was thrilled to reintroduce
the Local Farms, Food, and Jobs Act in Congress with the help of two very special guests, Top Chef
host Tom Colicchio and Maine farmer Sarah Smith.
Like the legislation I introduced in the last Congress, the bill
takes steps to better meet the needs of farmers involved in local and regional agriculture, increase
access to healthy, local foods for consumers, and provide secure funding for programs that support the
kind of diversified farms we have in Maine. I'm pleased that Sherrod Brown is once again introducing
a companion bill in the Senate.
Despite federal policy that has favored big ag, there has been
incredible growth in smaller-scale food systems in recent years. When I began running a farm in Maine
in the 1970s, farmers markets were few and far between. Today there are nearly 8,000 nationwide. Isn’t
it time federal policy catches up so it can help this movement reach its full potential and help our