Funding for a Better Farm Bill Has Been Sparse and Inconsistent. Is That Changing?—Inside Philanthropy

This week, Inside Philanthropy published an article about shifts in philanthropy to support sustained grassroots organizing and advocacy on the Farm Bill, the massive piece of federal legislation that governs agricultural markets and nutrition benefits. Advocates point to the need for more sustained engagement in between reauthorization periods every 5 years. For example, the National Sustainable Agriculture Coalition encourages funders to give “flexibility regarding advancing policy change, and [have] a greater recognition of the fact that we’re living and working in really complicated times,” With increased flexibility from funders organizations can “be responsive to opportunities when they arise, like the IRA.” 

Funders are beginning to approach Farm Bill advocacy with more intentionality, particularly through climate funding streams. New pooled funds such as the Farm Bill Grassroots Capacity Fund, launched by Waverly Street, Regenerative Agriculture Foundation and National Sustainable Agriculture Coalition, are filling the need for continuity of funding for movement building around the Farm Bill. 

Ultimately, SAFSF hopes funders continue to stay engaged and get creative in funding a broad spectrum of policy related activities needed to counteract the power of well-funded industry groups. As SAFSF Public Policy Associate Maggie Mascarenhas points out,  supporting community groups to build relationships with policymakers and educate them on the issues communities face is well within the bounds of what is allowed for nonprofits and charitable foundations.

We were heartened to see many SAFSF members and partners mentioned in this article, including SAFSF Board Member Mark Muller of Regenerative Agriculture Foundation, The McKnight Foundation, 11th Hour Project, Lumpkin Family Foundation, Walton Family Foundation, and Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, as well as the non-profit leadership of NSAC, Rural Coalition, HEAL Food Alliance, Intertribal Agriculture Council, and National Young Farmers Coalition.