Lindsey Scalera, Grassroots Organizer, Michigan Voices for Good Food Policy - National Sustainable Agriculture Coalition (NSAC)
May 18, 2015
What is your role at Michigan Voices for Good Food Policy?
LS: I am the Grassroots Organizer for Michigan Voices for Good Food Policy. We are a coalition-building project of the NSAC with the aim of uniting and elevating Michigan voices in support of policies that expand opportunities for rural and urban farmers to produce good food, sustain the environment, and contribute to healthy and vibrant communities.
By collaborating with many people and organizations around the state working to transform and strengthen local communities through food and farming, I help to engage Michigan’s grassroots in advocacy for good food policies at the federal level. The major federal policies we work on are the Farm Bill, the Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA), and the Child Nutrition Reauthorization Act.
How does Michigan Voices for Good Food Policy work towards the goals of the Michigan Good Food Charter
LS: Our work on policies at the federal level is very much aligned with the goals of the Michigan Good Food Charter. Federal policies have a profound effect on what happens on the ground in Michigan. We work with NSAC Michigan members and other food and farm allies to advocate for food and farm policies that: create jobs and spur economic growth through food and farms; make healthy food more available and accessible to all Michigan residents; support and invest in beginning and minority farmers; protect Michigan’s natural resources and help farmers care for their land; and strengthen urban & rural food and farming connections.
What do you find most exciting or inspiring about what you’re doing?
LS: My favorite part of my work is meeting and collaborating with the people are who are making long-lasting transformations in Michigan’s economy and communities through their work in local and regional food systems.
I have had the privilege to talk with chefs, beginning farmers, veteran multi-generational farmers, school food service directors, children who garden at home with their parents, farmers market managers, directors of food systems organizations, community groups working to build equitable and just food systems... What all these people have in common is a vision they share for a diverse, healthy, sustainable, and equitable food system.
What opportunities do you see for moving towards the goals of the Michigan Good Food Charter and where do you see those leading in the next five to ten years?
LS: The goals of the Michigan Good Food Charter represent the opportunity to multiply the impact of our efforts.
Over the next five years, I think that more stories will emerge, and the picture of what we’re all working toward will become clearer. There are more and more opportunities for intersections and collaboration among groups working to better the food system. For example, local food policy councils and similar groups will gain a stronger voice at the local levels of government as well as statewide and nationwide, helping to build support for a wide array of efforts to strengthen regional food systems.
What is one thing you’ve learned through your experience with working towards the goals of the Good Food Charter that you’d like to share with others?
LS: When we have a strong local food system, we have the power to transform not only the way we eat but also the way we relate to each other.
It can be a little overwhelming when you start to think about all the many, many, things going on in Michigan that support local food and farms. I think there are two important things to keep in mind: First - no matter how small an effort you make toward a better food system in Michigan, it still makes a difference. Second - I like to think that the best way to get engaged is to identify what you love about your local food system and work to keep it strong.
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