Use the American Rescue Plan Act to help farms
Right now, Massachusetts legislators are making decisions about how they can best apportion resources from the American Rescue Plan Act. These funds are designed to support businesses that have been especially affected by Covid, but they also provide an opportunity to strengthen our local economy and to build resilience in the face of future challenges. We call on our legislators to invest ARPA funds in critical agricultural infrastructure needs.
Massachusetts farms face two enormous challenges: rapidly changing markets (especially during the pandemic) and a rapidly changing climate. As these threats jeopardize our region’s food security, our need to help local farms thrive only grows. To build a local food system that will serve us well into the future, we believe it would be wise for ARPA funds to be allocated to following four investment areas:
- capital expenses with flexibility to farmers’ needs
- conversion of publicly led vacant land for farming
- education and technical assistance to help farms adapt to climate change
- housing assistance for low-income farmers and farmworkers
The funding presents an opportunity to farmers to rebound from Covid stronger and better prepared for the next crisis. We ask our legislators to invest in a more resilient local food system by meeting the needs of Massachusetts farmers. You can find your legislators at malegislature.gov/search/findmylegislator to voice your support for these important investments.
Gregory Nicaise is the local food program manager for the Sustainable Business Network of Massachusetts.