The White House just announced $800,000 in funding, from a variety of executive branch agencies, to help 26 mostly smaller communities — from Tuskegee, Ala., to Loyal, Wisc. — integrate local food systems as a means to improve their economies.
That’s just peanuts if you compare it to the amount we pay to support crop insurance, for instance. But it could make a real difference to these towns.
It’s part of a federal initiative called Local Foods, Local Places. The project was announced back in June, so this isn’t a response to the call by food movement luminaries for a national food policy. But it does demonstrate the kind of action that the executive branch can take unilaterally to affect the country’s food system.
The projects are different in each community. In Arkansas, the Flippin School District is getting help to turn empty lots next to the high school parking lot into a farmers market. In Los Angeles, the Youth Policy Institute is getting assistance to start a CSA for low-income residents. Hazard, Ky., will be building a food hub. Itta Bena, Miss., will get a grocery store that draws on local food sources. And Lick Skillet, Tenn., is building a weasel-milking operation and creamery. (OK, that last project’s not real — although Lick Skillet is. Just making sure you’re paying attention.)
You can see all of the project descriptions here.