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Local and Regional Food Systems Advocacy in Washington, D.C.

Updated: Oct 20, 2022

four people standing in front of the US Capitol Building
In front of the US Capitol Building: Ariana Taylor-Stanley of NSAC; Susan Lightfoot Schempf of FLSN; Maddie Chera, Director of our FPC; and Tevis Foreman, Executive Director of Produce Perks Midwest.

Director Maddie Chera represented the Greater Cincinnati Regional Food Policy Council last week at an advocacy “fly-in” in Washington, D.C. With support from the Food System Leadership Network (FLSN) at the Wallace Center and the National Sustainable Agriculture Coalition (NSAC), Maddie met with national legislators from Ohio to discuss the impacts of USDA funding for our region in anticipation of the 2023 Farm Bill.

Maddie visited with staff from the offices of Sen. Sherrod Brown, Rep. Shontel Brown, and Rep. Marcy Kaptur, along with Food Policy Council member Tevis Foreman, Executive Director of Produce Perks Midwest.

Check out some of the information they shared with our legislators, including a one pager on USDA support for local and regional food systems created by NSAC:

DC Fly-In Packet for GCRFPC
Download PDF • 3.97MB

They shared stories of our successes in distributing local food throughout our region, including through our Ohio-wide Farm to School work, partnerships with food hubs, and more. They voiced our need for continued investment in regional food systems and connected agriculture issues with climate resilience, community food security, healthy kids, and thriving local economies.

people sitting at a conference table in a cream colored room
Maddie speaks at a meeting with the USDA-AMS

Maddie and Tevis were among a group of farmers and food systems leaders who also met with staff of the USDA’s Agricultural Marketing Service, which administers several grants to support local and regional food systems. The Food Policy Council has received two of these grants: a Local Food Promotion Program grant in 2017 and a Regional Food Systems Partnership grant in 2020 (still underway).

Excitingly, the White House Conference on Hunger, Nutrition, and Health coincided with the trip, and Maddie was able to hear firsthand accounts from network colleagues who participated in the conference while in DC.

And so fitting: the US Botanical Garden was hosting a farming-focused exhibit called Cultivate: Growing Food in a Changing World that Maddie visited on her way out of town, too!


Support for the trip was provided by the Food System Leadership Network.

Funding for our current local and regional food systems work is made possible by the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) Agricultural Marketing Service through grant AM190100XXXXG181. Its contents are solely the responsibility of the authors and do not necessarily represent the official views of the USDA.

Our Farm to School work has been funded at least in part with Federal funds from the U.S. Department of Agriculture. The contents of this publication do not necessarily reflect the view or policies of the U.S. Department of Agriculture, nor does mention of trade names, commercial products, or organizations imply endorsement by the U.S. Government.


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