With Session Heating Up, What’s the Temp of Food Charter Legislative Opportunities?

The Minnesota Food Charter is a shared roadmap of 99 proven policy and systems changes strategies that will improve health and prosperity for all Minnesotans. Out of those 99 strategies, more than 20 require state and legislative action to ensure safe, affordable, healthy food for everyone. With the state legislative session heating up, we wanted to send a reminder of the many exciting legislative initiatives being worked on in 2017 that align with Food Charter strategies.

Back in December 2016, the Minnesota Food Charter Network’s Policy Action Team identified a series of policy priorities to focus on this legislative session. Each of these policy priorities is led by a set of Minnesota Food Charter Network partners and highlights the unique collaborative nature of the Network, including:

  • Providing state funding for mobile food shelves –  This effort would increase access to affordable, healthy food to those facing the greatest barriers to mobility.
  • Increasing resources to support hunger relief initiatives – Funding would ensure that food banks and food shelves across Minnesota would have the infrastructure and programmatic support to provide healthy food to those most in need.
  • Investing in healthy food retail – Support of the Good Food Access Program would provide opportunities for retailers across the state to make infrastructure upgrades and/or maintain service to communities with limited retail food access.
  • Contributing adequate funding for healthy school meals – Many Minnesota children­­–in rural and urban communities alike­–rely on school meals as up to 2/3 of their daily food intake. Making sure that schools have enough money to offer nutritious food to all children who need it reflects Minnesota values.
  • Expanding Farm to School programs – School food services in districts across the state can purchase and serve nutritious products grown and processed on nearby Minnesota family farms for school meals.
  • Sustaining the Statewide Health Improvement Program (SHIP) – A statewide program, SHIP funds prevention-focused strategies to improve health, reduce obesity, and minimize diet-related diseases, including healthy eating-focused efforts such as local food policy councils, Farm to School programs, and farmers market initiatives
  • Investing resources in sustainable crops research and development – The Forever Green Program at the University of Minnesota is made up of researchers from many disciplines and their agricultural and corporate partners—working together and developing new crops that are good for water, soil, human and animal health and promote the economic bottom line for rural communities.

In addition to these policy priorities, other legislative initiatives under consideration align with Food Charter strategies, including:

  • Urban Agriculture Development Pilot Program – A new competitive grants program would be established to distribute funding to diverse initiatives that increase food production in communities across Minnesota.
  • Young Farmer Tax Credit – A new tax credit for landowners who sell or rent their farm to beginning farmers.

Shout out to the leadership of so many amazing organizational and community partners who have helped move these initiatives forward.

For more information on how you can get involved and support any of these efforts you can contact: info@mnfoodcharter.com.

Let’s keep the ball rolling!