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 April 2015

Local Food Funding Available
Grant funding is now available for local food businesses and farm to school efforts. The Farmers Market and Local Food Promotion Program (FMLFPP) is an expanded version of the Farmers Market Promotion Program, a competitive grants program established in the Farm Bill to increase and strengthen direct market food channels. 

The FMLFPP Direct Marketing Program offers grants to farmers’ markets, community supported agriculture (CSA) programs, and roadside stands, and for agritourism, internet sales, and other direct marketing that can be used for market startup, operation, infrastructure, training and education, outreach, market analysis and planning, customer and producer surveys, vendor and customer recruitment, and new venue establishment.

The FMLFPP Intermediated Marketing Program offers food hubs, aggregators, distributors, wholesalers, processors, and value-added production enterprises grants for market research, feasibility studies, business planning, training, technical assistance, outreach and marketing, working capital, and non-construction infrastructure improvements or information technology systems.

The application deadline is May 14. Each program has more than $13 million available during this funding round. Access the Request for Applications here.

The Farm to School Grant Program provides grants to schools, nonprofits, state and local agencies, agricultural producers, and Indian tribal organizations to increase local food procurement for school meal programs and to expand educational activities on agriculture and food. Up to $5 million in grants will be awarded for planning and implementation, support services, and training. 

Letters of intent and required attachments for training grants must be sent to farmtoschool@fns.usda.gov by April 30. The deadline for planning, implementation, and support service applications is May 20.

Fracking Impacts Organic Farms
Ohio features predominately in a recent article by FracTracker Alliance. The article looks at organic farms in proximity to fracking activity, and highlights the potential for more farms to be affected as the industry expands. Already, of Ohio’s 703 organic farms, 220 are near drilling activity, and 105 are near waste disposal injection wells. 
Fracking Decisions Limit Chemical Disclosure, Local Authority
The fight against an Ohio Department of Natural Resources (ODNR) take-over of the Federal Emergency Planning and Community Right to Know Act continues in the Ohio legislature. A March 13 article in the Columbus Dispatch reports on the Safe Ohio Coalition’s efforts to block a proposal by the Kasich administration to filter information about chemicals used in fracking activities through ODNR. By putting ODNR in the driver seat, firefighters may not have access to information they need during an emergency.

In a close 4-3 vote, the Ohio Supreme Court ruled that the state has exclusive authority to regulate fracking, and therefore, local governments cannot regulate fracking through zoning laws or other restrictions. In a separate dissenting opinion, Judge William O’Neill wrote, “The oil and gas industry has gotten its way, and local control of drilling location decisions has been unceremoniously taken away from the citizens of Ohio… What the drilling industry has bought and paid for in campaign contributions, they shall receive.”
OEFFA Supports Pollinator Legislation
Last month, the National Organic Coalition (NOC) issued a letter of support signed by OEFFA for the Saving America’s Pollinators Act. 

This act would suspend the use of neonicotinoid pesticides until a full review of scientific evidence and a field study demonstrates no harmful impacts to pollinators. Read more about the act, find your federal representative, and call them to support the act today.

If you have never called a legislator, check out this short video by the Carolina Farm Stewardship Association. It’s a great way to get comfortable with making that first phone call.

OEFFA Finds Majority of Ohioans Support GE Labeling
In February, OEFFA contracted with a national polling firm to conduct a statewide poll of Ohio voters to assess their attitudes about genetically engineered (GE) food and labeling.

The results undoubtedly show the public wants to know what they eat and feed their families: 87% of Ohioans support labeling GE food. Furthermore, GE labeling is a strongly non-partisan issue in Ohio, with 89% of Republicans, 88% of Democrats, and 85% of Independents supporting GE labeling.

You can download the issue brief with detailed information on the poll, or view the infographic and press release here.
It is time to ask our state and federal legislators: “If the public overwhelmingly supports labeling GE food and you don’t—whose interests are you representing?” 

Show your support for GE labeling by signing OEFFA's petition to the Ohio legislature today.

FERC Tells Nexus to Look at Alternate Route
The Canton Repository reported that the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) requested Spectra Energy to alter the proposed Nexus pipeline route. The FERC request came after the City of Green submitted comments asking that the project avoid impacts to homes, businesses, and schools within 1,500 feet of the pipeline. Spectra Energy is also reported to be considering another alternate route, following a tremendous grassroots activity calling for a route change. This is a great example of how public involvement can make a difference!

Farm Bill  ♦  Food Safety  ♦ FrackingGE Labeling  ♦ Climate Change
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Ohio Ecological Food and Farm Association

41 Croswell Rd., Columbus OH 43214

(614) 421-2022   www.oeffa.org


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