USDA creates $400 million local food program

To build resiliency into the food system, the Agriculture Department said on Monday it would award up to $500 million to state and tribal governments for purchases of locally grown food for emergency food assistance. The Local Food Purchase Assistance program has a goal of buying food from socially disadvantage farmers and putting it in the hands of under-served communities.

Micro-farm crop insurance policy will debut in 2022

Small farmers who sell their products locally are eligible for a new micro-farm policy, said the Risk Management Agency, which oversees the federally subsidized crop insurance system. The policy, which simplifies recordkeeping and covers post-production costs, is available for 2022 crops.

With Covid-19 in Alaska, a home-grown food movement underway

Alaska imports more than 90 percent of its food, but with Covid-19 interrupting supply chains, especially to remote regions, people in the state are reacting by starting gardens and advocating for more locally grown food, reports Miranda Weiss in FERN's latest story. (No paywall)

As institutions close, some farmers are left without a market

The spread of the novel coronavirus has shuttered colleges, closed hospitals to visitors, and otherwise radically altered how many institutions operate. For some local farmers who have sold food to those operations’ cafeterias, it will prove difficult to recover from the lost business.(No paywall)

Farmers and food groups innovate to keep operations viable as the coronavirus spreads

As the spread of the coronavirus causes many cities to curtail public gatherings, farmers who sell directly to customers at farmers' markets and through CSAs are coming up with novel solutions at breakneck speed to keep their customers fed and their operations viable. For one farmer, a pool noodle is an essential part of the plan.(No paywall)

‘Kids eat local’ bills may be part of child nutrition overhaul

Companion bills introduced in the House and Senate would make it easier for schools to buy locally produced foods to serve to their students, said sponsors on Thursday.

Madison looks at former meat factory for wholesale food market

Madison, Wisconsin, was hit particularly hard by the 2015 merger of Kraft and Heinz and its accompanying layoffs. Now, the city is assessing whether the former meat processing site could be repurposed into a food terminal for regional producers. If the terminal is approved, the city will join others who are building infrastructure for medium-scale regional food distribution.

California avoids the SNAP snafu engulfing farmers markets

California offers an example of how to avoid the electronic equipment snarl that threatens SNAP sales at 40 percent of farmers markets across the nation, says The New Food Economy. "Their method? Creating a system partially, if not fully independent of the federal system."

Foraging, the newest step in hyper-local craft beer

In the small town of Ava in southern Illinois, brewers Marika Josephson and Aaron Kleidon take a look outside when they need ingredients for their brewery. With a garden on their property and a "commitment to sourcing their hops and malt close to home," Scratch Brewery "is part of a new movement of breweries that want to use foraged beers—beverages brewed with wild ingredients sourced hyper-locally—to educate drinkers about agriculture," says Civil Eats.