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Senator Stabenow Visits Burton, Discusses 2013 Farm Bill and the Impact of Locally Grown Food on Michigan’s Economy

Wednesday, Aug 21, 2013

U.S. Senator Debbie Stabenow, Chairwoman of the Agriculture, Nutrition and Forestry Committee, today met with community leaders and toured the Mr. Rogers Garden Program Hoop House where she discussed the 2013 Farm Bill and how the production and sale of more locally grown foods boosts the local economy. According to the Michigan Department of Agriculture, if every household spent just $10 dollars per week on locally grown food it would generate nearly $40 million in economic activity in Michigan. Senator Stabenow heard from local leaders who are working on food initiatives in Genesee County that will help boost economic growth, support Michigan agriculture, and increase access to more locally grown, healthy food choices for families.

Chairwoman Stabenow said: "It was great to see the Mr. Rogers garden program and hear from community leaders in Genesee County who are helping families, schools and restaurants buy more locally grown foods from Michigan farmers. Buying local is a win for our economy, a win for Michigan agriculture and win for consumers who will have better access to healthy food choices. It is absolutely critical that Congress complete its work on a Farm Bill, which would expand support for local food hubs, farmers' markets, community gardens, and other local food initiatives across our state."

Greg Gaines, Director of the Mr. Rogers Program said: "The Mr. Rogers Garden Program brings teenagers in Genesee County together to learn important job skills through growing and selling produce at the Flint Farmers' Market. We also teach youth culinary skills, so they know how to properly cook or prepare the very produce they are growing in their garden. We are very excited to host Senator Stabenow at our Hoop House, and we appreciate her leadership and support of urban agriculture."

In June, the Senate passed Chairwoman Stabenow's 2013 Farm Bill with wide bipartisan support (66-27). The Farm Bill expands support for community gardens, farmers' markets and local food hubs to boost Michigan agriculture, our state's second largest industry. The bill also strengthens crop insurance and provides disaster relief for fruit and vegetable growers who were affected by last year's freeze and drought. While strengthening key initiatives to help farmers and agriculture businesses create jobs, the Farm Bill also cuts unnecessary programs and streamlines existing ones to reduce the deficit by $24 billion. For more information on the Farm Bill, click here.

The Mr. Rogers Garden Program is sponsored by Catholic Charities and provides mentoring to youth in Genesee County. The hoop house and summer garden program provide teenagers with an opportunity to learn how to grow, market, and cook produce that is later sold at the Flint Farmers' Market.


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