USDA unveils the Food System Transformation framework
By: Sydney Sheffield
The United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) has announced the details of the Food System Transformation framework. The framework was designed to transform the food system to benefit consumers, producers, and rural communities by providing more options, increasing access, and creating markets for small and mid-size producers. This announcement follows the $1 billion investment in climate-smart commodity pilot projects announced in February and the $700 million pandemic relief grant package for small food, agriculture and fisheries businesses launched last fall.
This announcement follows the $1 billion investment in climate-smart commodity pilot projects announced in February and the $700 million pandemic relief grant package for small food, agriculture and fisheries businesses launched last fall.
“As Chairman of the House Agriculture Committee, I am proud to support the Biden-Harris Administration’s framework to transform the food system to benefit consumers, producers, and rural communities. I applaud Secretary Tom Vilsack and USDA for their hard work to implement these resources in a way that will make the supply chain more resilient, give producers access to markets and fairer prices, and ensure that all Americans have better access to nutritious and affordable food,” said Chairman David Scott in a press release. “Today’s announcement will complement the House Agriculture Committee’s ongoing efforts to tackle root causes of food and energy supply chain disruptions and provide relief to American producers and consumers. We have recently advanced legislation on these issues out of our Committee and are working diligently to bring it to the House Floor in the coming weeks.”
The framework includes $300 million for transitioning to organic, $375 million for expanding independent meat and processing, $400 million to create regional food business centers and up to $600 million in financial assistance to support the food supply chain infrastructure. The framework includes four overarching goals:
Building a more resilient food supply chain that provides more and better market options for consumers and producers while reducing carbon pollution.
Creating a fairer food system that combats market dominance and helps producers and consumers gain more power in the marketplace by creating new, more and better local market options.
Making nutritious food more accessible and affordable for consumers.
Emphasizing equity by creating wealth that stays in small towns and underserved communities.
USDA also announced significant investments to support urban agriculture, including $43.1 million for grants and cooperative agreements as well as six new urban county committees to help deliver key USDA programs to urban producers. These investments build upon the Food System Transformation framework.
“Investing in urban agriculture innovations helps us build a fairer, more transparent food system and promote equity by increasing nutrition security and economic opportunity in underserved communities,” said Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) Chief Terry Cosby. “These projects will help urban farmers create new, more affordable, and better local market options and help urban communities produce fresh and healthy food locally, reducing food waste while building nutrient-rich compost.”