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Grass Roots Policy for New England Agriculture

Every year, members of New England Farmers Union (NEFU) set the organization’s priorities for the following year. NEFU’s policy book, which guides the organization’s efforts, is updated through a grass-roots member-driven process, and is voted on at the annual meeting.

The policy book covers all areas of agriculture policy: farm products, management practices, the role of government, energy, and nutrition. It spells out priorities on sectors such as dairy, fisheries and forestry. It reflects NEFU’s values of education, legislation and cooperation. Educational priorities proliferate, and there is an entire section dedicated to cooperatives.

NEFU relies on member input to shape its priorities and guide its actions through updates to the policy book. The process begins when NEFU convenes a policy committee to consider revisions proposed by members, our board and our Legislative Committee. You can submit a proposal by using this form.

The policy committee then convenes for an all-day session where members review the policy book line by line. They consider member suggestions. They debate. And they produce a set of revisions to be brought forward to the Annual Convention. This year’s policy committee will convene this Saturday, October 26, in Concord, NH. The 2013 Policy Committee is chaired by Beth Hodge of Echo Farm and includes Tim O’Connell, Penny Jordan, Steve Normanton, and Nathan L’Etoile.

The final lap for the Policy Book is NEFU’s Annual Convention. This year, the convention will be held in Newport, RI, on December 6-7. Details are here. If you participate in agriculture – as a producer, processor or eater, then this meeting is a place to ensure your voice is heard. It’s democracy in action. Save the date!

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