Growing Our Local Food Economy

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Food Scrap Bill Now Rhode Island Law!
by Max Greene

On Monday, Governor Chafee signed into law the food scrap bill I’ve been supporting in the General Assembly and here on CLF’s blog.  (Here, here, and here are posts I’ve written, and here [pdf] is a recent letter to Speaker Mattiello supporting the bills.)  This new law is a victory for Rhode Island! As I’ve written…

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Rhode Island’s Food Scrap Bill Is Good For Business
by Max Greene

On June 4, the Rhode Island Senate unanimously passed a CLF-supported bill requiring large producers of food scrap to send this and other organic material to composting facilities and anaerobic digesters instead of to the Central Landfill. This is good news! And it’s attracting national attention. A story in the Wall Street Journal that same…

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WANTED: Transactional Lawyers for Farmers and Food Entrepreneurs
by Elena Mihaly

Imagine you’d like to start a local farm. You’ll want land, equipment, seeds, and that special ingredient that few people think about: a lawyer. Surprised? You’re not alone! Few people recognize how necessary lawyers are in building the farms, food businesses, and food cooperatives that make up our local food system. Acquiring land, negotiating agricultural…

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Could New England Produce Half the Food It Consumes?
by Ben Tettlebaum

What if New England produced half of the food its residents need? Is such a vision possible? Based on the amount of acreage in farmland, our region currently produces only about 10 percent of the food we consume. The latest agriculture census numbers point to challenges to achieving significant growth in producing our own food.…

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Rhode Island Senate Close to Passing Food Scrap Bill
by Max Greene

The Rhode Island Senate is poised to vote tomorrow on a bill that would keep food scrap out of the Landfill and instead direct this valuable material to beneficial uses like compost and energy production.  This is good news! As a reminder, here in Rhode Island, we currently treat food scrap as a waste.  That…

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There He Goes Again — Governor LePage Says “No” to Maine-Grown Food
by Ben Tettlebaum

Last week, Maine Governor Paul LePage vetoed a bill that would help Maine farmers and fishermen bring more of their food to institutional markets: “An Act To Support School Nutrition and Expand the Local Foods Economy” (LD 1431). The Maine legislature recently passed the bill unanimously in the Senate and with a supermajority in the…

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Protecting Farmland and Communities – Keeping Act 250 Strong
by Sandy Levine

For decades, Vermont’s premiere land use law, Act 250, has provided important protections for Vermont’s natural resources and communities. Prescient when it was passed in 1970, it provides for development to conform to the natural resources on which we all rely, and to provide for objective, citizen oriented environmental review of major development projects. Over…

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Act Now to Support Maine Farms and Food!
by Ben Tettlebaum

The Maine legislature is considering a bill that would help Maine farms bring more of their food to our tables. “An Act To Support School Nutrition and Expand the Local Foods Economy” (LD 1431) supports Maine in producing and consuming more of its own food. Under a two-pronged approach, the bill gives crucial start-up capital…

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CLF and Partners Release Unprecedented Food Policy Report
by Jenny Rushlow

In New England, we import the majority of the food we consume. Numerous policy barriers at the local, state, and federal levels affect our region’s capacity to grow and consume more of our own food; process and distribute more of our own meat, poultry, and seafood; and support our signature farmland and those who farm…

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Rhode Island Is Ready to Recognize That Food Scrap Isn’t Trash
by Max Greene

Think about what you throw away. Lots of it probably comes from food: banana peels, onion skins, carrot tops, apple cores. We’ll call these materials, collectively, food scrap. Now imagine you run a restaurant, a school or hospital cafeteria, a college dining hall. You might well be feeding hundreds or even thousands of people a…