The Atlantic has a story up on a recent announcement from the USDA that they will be making $5 million dollars available for the Farmers' Market Promotion Program. Sounds pretty good. Too bad the article opens this way:
The 2008 farm bill contains $35 billion earmarked as subsidies to the huge agribusinesses that produce the bulk of our corn, wheat, and soybeans.
Despite this clear indication of what kind of agriculture our government is interested in supporting, the money could still do some serious good. It will mostly be used in low income, rural areas.
When asked about the program's paltry budget, Fitzgerald said, "In the communities that they are targeting, it doesn't take a ton of money to make a significant difference. Something as simple as getting a farmers' market the machinery needed to accept what used to be called food stamps and is now called SNAP (Sustainable Nutrition Assistance Program) costs a few thousand dollars but can open up hundreds of thousands of dollars in those communities for farmers.