I am so excited about the upcoming U.S. Conference of Mayors June 21-24. Here is the link to the complete agenda: http://usmayors.org/81stAnnualMeeting/media/proposed-resolutions.pdf
All the resolutions look great, but the ones that impress me the most are the following three. Too bad our national government in Washington is not as focused on the needs of the people as our mayors seem to be as reflected by these agenda items.
Resolution 3: FURTHERING THE URBAN FOOD REVOLUTION
(See full inclusion of this resolution below.)
Resolution 8: SUPPORT FOR URBAN AQUACULTURE DEVELOPMENT
excerpt: US Conference of Mayors urges cities to examine regulations and zoning ordinances to determine the feasibility for local urban aquaculture development, and streamline, update and modify regulations, codes and ordinances where applicable to encourage increased aquaculture production to better and more affordably provide healthy aquatic animal protein to their residents; and. . . the US Conference of Mayors urges cities to develop markets for sustainably produced aquaculture, so that their residents may have greater access to healthy and sustainably produced aquatic animal protein.
Those on the Garland City council who have read my proposal for a Garland Urban Agriculture Center that I submitted last February know how excited I am about aquaponic agriculture. In fact, I have a small system operating on my front porch.
Resolution 13: IN SUPPORT OF THE PARTNERSHIP FOR SUSTAINABLE COMMUNITIES
I was puzzled that this resolution focused only on housing and transportation. There was one brief mention ”. . . be more economically resilient . . .” as part of the definition of a sustainable community, but no real direction as to how to attain that. [As I see things, the only ways to be more economically resilient is to 1) grow more food locally and 2) create business models that are anchored in the local economy as opposed to Wall Street--cooperatives, locally held corporations, and employee-owned companies.]
NOTE: I was also amazed and disappointed to not see the word “solar” mentioned under the resolutions from the energy committee. I wonder why?
Full inclusion of Resolution 8 – FURTHERING THE URBAN FOOD REVOLUTION
1. WHEREAS, Mayors around the country are implementing creative local food policies that improve health, create jobs and economic activity and enhance the quality of life of our cities; and
2. WHEREAS, too many American families, urban, suburban and rural, are still struggling to put nutritious meals on the table for their families; and
3. WHEREAS, there is great potential for an urban-rural partnership that works together for comprehensive food legislation that combats hunger, promotes economic opportunity and builds linkages between farmers and consumers; and
4. WHEREAS, Mayors recognize the many important potential benefits from the farm and food policy support in the reauthorization of the “Farm Bill”, including federal nutrition assistance programs, access to healthy foods for under-resourced communities, promotion of environmental stewardship and protection of our food supply; and
5. WHEREAS, Senator Sherrod Brown and Representative Chellie Pingree have once again introduced the “Local Farms, Food and Jobs Act” to support local food systems; and
6. WHEREAS, Mayors continue to express a need for strategic focus through a lead point of contact within the US Department of Agriculture for the growing number of creative city-based initiatives which promote a healthy food system, ranging from urban agriculture and aquaculture, greenhouses, business incubators and a low/no cost program to provide electronic benefit transfer readers in order to expand SNAP purchases at farmers markets; and
7. WHEREAS, public-private partnerships can significantly improve access to healthy food and job development, from efforts in Pennsylvania, California, New York and other states to expand inner-city retail food to new state legislation submitted in Massachusetts by the City of Boston which would create a Food Innovations Trust Fund for economic development; and
8. WHEREAS, the federal Healthy Food Financing Initiative has increased access to healthy food in America’s cities; and
9. WHEREAS, a growing number of charitable and social venture organizations are also committing more resources to urban food system development,
10. NOW, THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED that the United States Conferences of Mayors supports the development of a comprehensive national food policy, that feeds the hungry, supports the small farmer in urban and rural areas, promotes access to healthy and affordable foods for all residents, including strengthening incentives and infrastructure to encourage more local food production and distribution, environmentally sustainable farming practices, better access to fresh foods and investment in programs providing healthy food, expansion of programs that help communities invest in retail markets, food-based businesses and increased access to farmers markets and farm to cafeteria programs that bring the freshest, local grown food into school lunch programs, hospitals and other institutions; and
11. BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, that the US Conference of Mayors supports the promotion of food security through the passage of a Farm Bill that maintains sufficient levels of funding for the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP). All Americans deserve a decent meal on their tables; and
12. BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, that the US Conference of Mayors supports the continued funding of the Healthy Food Financing Initiative; and
1313. BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, that the US Conference of Mayors supports preserving and expanding existing USDA programs such as the Senior Farmers Market Nutrition Program, the Fresh Fruit and Vegetable Snack program in schools, and programs that advocate for the increased use of Electronic Benefits at farmers markets; and
14. BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, that the US Conference of Mayors support the establishment of an “Office of Urban Agriculture” to help lend strategic focus to systems innovations in cities across America and provide mayors and city officials with an information resource and an advocate for building partnerships – within USDA, with other relevant federal agencies, with philanthropic donors and social venture investors, and with rural interests; and
15. BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, that the US Conference of Mayors urges the inclusion of provisions of the “Local Farms, Food and Jobs Act” that support and strengthen local food systems and increase access to healthy and affordable food, especially in low-income and under-resourced communities.