Policy & Advocacy
Policy is a much derided and misunderstood aspect of our democratic society. At the mere mention of policy, most people think of “lobbying.” But there is a difference between lobbying as it’s perceived (powered by corporate money and political posturing) and advocacy (powered by grassroots organizing and a united voice.) Through educating the citizenry in collective action, providing the tools to let their voices be heard at the governmental level, and breaking down barriers to understanding how policy impacts communities, we work with New Mexicans to change policies that have negatively impacted many lives in our state. This work is for the long haul and requires a long view.
Advocating for responsible, sustainable, community centered policy is vital to the progress of many federal and state food and agriculture programs. We work to minimize barriers and change local procurement structures while organizing united voices to inform policymakers about the benefits of these programs. Working across multiple initiatives helps us learn about who is involved in the food system, who is left out, what capacity looks like, and what it will take to change political and economic structures that deny people equitable access. .
Examples of Advocacy:
- Working with national groups to include federal funding for a wide variety of federal programs that benefit farmers, ranchers, nutrition and food assistance programs, food systems, farm to school grant programs.
- Providing advice on the development of a wide variety of federal programs that benefit farmers, ranchers, nutrition and food assistance programs, food systems, farm to school.
- Working with national and regional groups to advocate for federal programs that could expand access to affordable food in rural, Tribal, and underserved communities.
- Ongoing advocacy on a federal Farm Bill that supports local producers and consumers.
- Assisting in the support of and advocating for city and county policies and ordinances that support local food to school and senior meal programs, nutrition and food assistance programs, and urban and rural agriculture support.
We focus on policy and advocacy primarily in three areas:
Food Policy Councils
Food Policy Councils are often convened, in part, to facilitate collaboration and coordination among the different governmental entities whose policies and food/nutrition/economic development programs impact the food and agriculture system, and between agency representatives and other food system stakeholders such as community organizations, agricultural producers, and other food entrepreneurs. It is estimated that there are over 300 food policy councils in the US.
- Advising policymakers and local and state agencies on improving New Mexico’s procurement code to support local food purchases.
- Partnering in the Food Initiative, a statewide multi-program food, farm and hunger legislation, Farm to Table works directly with agencies and partner organizations to make sure funding is received and accounted for across all programs.
- Coordinating a policy campaign to amend the state’s Local Economic Development Act to include rural grocery stores and food outlets and entities appropriate for funding assistance to increase economic activity and access to affordable healthy foods.
New Mexico Food & Agriculture Policy Council
Farm to Table recognized the importance of policy and advocacy and with partner organizations and agencies created the New Mexico Food & Agriculture Policy Council (NMFAPC), which has been coordinated and resourced by Farm to Table since its inception. Though a program of Farm to Table, the Council is a true coalition, consisting of a diverse group of more than 75 organizations, agencies, and individuals representing rural, urban, and tribal communities and initiatives statewide. The Council focuses on state and federal policy and advocacy through the lens of our values and equity statements, developed by the membership through our consensus-based decision-making approach. The NMFAPC is one of the longest running food policy councils in the country.
CLICK HERE to stay informed about NMFAPC meetings and activities.
CLICK HERE to become a member of NMFAPC.
Santa Fe Food Policy Council
Santa Fe Food Policy Council was established by a joint resolution from the City of Santa Fe and Santa Fe County in 2008 and is devoted to creating and maintaining a regional food system that provides safe and nutritious food at reasonable prices to all residents, particularly those in need. The council is also staffed and coordinated by Farm to Table.
Administrative Advocacy – is essential to ensure that policies and the subsequent laws are implemented and have the intended effect. Farm to Table works closely with agency representatives at both the state and federal level to maximize the impact of supportive laws and to help develop policies that are equitable for small farmers and food producers and sustainable for our environment.
Beyond local policy, we advocate for federal policies that support the health and wellbeing of New Mexicans, especially through the Farm Bill and Child Nutrition Reauthorization Act. Over the years, we have been instrumental in helping to bring federal dollars to our state, leveraging federal money against state funds and helping local producers and ranchers to create conservation areas, preserve wildlife habitat, conserve water, extend seasons (protecting against late and early frost), and address the myriad of climate related issues food producers currently face. These programs help farmers and ranchers to address the need to be adaptable to our changing environment, while ensuring the resiliency of the communities in which they live
The Farm Bill covers programs ranging from crop insurance for farmers to healthy food access for low-income families, from beginning farmer training to support for sustainable farming practices. The Farm Bill sets the stage for our food and farm systems. As individuals and groups working together, it’s our job to make sure that the important Farm Bill is good for farmers, consumers, and for the natural environment.
Every five years, the farm bill expires and is updated: it goes through an extensive process where it is proposed, debated, and passed by Congress and is then signed into law by the President. Each Farm Bill has a unique title, and the current Farm Bill is called the Agriculture Improvement Act of 2018. It was enacted into law in December 2018 and expires in 2023.
NMFAPC Farm Bill and Child Nutrition Reauthorization Priorities: