Briefing for food system advocates on April 11, 2022

The state legislature has been focused on the state’s operating budget (FY23) and the House Ways and Means Committee is expected to release its version of the budget sometime in mid-April. This is the beginning of a process that needs your voice if it is to prioritize investments in a more sustainable, equitable and resilient food system for our Commonwealth.

NOFA/Mass is proud to be a part of the MA Food System Collaborative, supporting the budget recommendations of this coalition in order to bring about intersectional solutions to challenges facing our food system.

From Winton at the Food System Collaborative:

The Collaborative will host an online briefing about our budget priorities on Monday, April 11, at 2:00 p.m. Leaders from the food banks, the Buy Locals, Project Bread, Mass Farm to School, MPHA, and other food system stakeholder organizations will also provide information on their priorities for this budget cycle. We’ll talk about the budget process itself as well, and about how advocates can be most effective as these discussions are taking place.

Please register here, and spread the word!

First and foremost:

The Collaborative leads the Campaign for HIP Funding to ensure that the Healthy Incentives Program (HIP), which provides fresh, healthy, local foods for SNAP recipients, receives increased funding to meet demand, operates year-round, and adds new farmers to fill gaps in program coverage. The campaign coalition includes more than 300 farmers, farmers markets, nonprofit agricultural/food system organizations, faith institutions, healthcare institutions, individuals with lived food insecurity experience, and more. The Campaign is advocating for $20 million for HIP in the fiscal year 2023 budget.

UPDATE! (4/13/22) The House Ways and Means budget proposal has been released. Thanks to everyone’s advocacy, the Committee determined that HIP should have $18 million to operate in fiscal year 2023. This is a significant increase over last year, and HIP continues to be the only program that has seen such steady growth in both its budget and its broad legislative support over the last five years.

A large group of people gathered at the Massachusetts state house meeting room.

NOFA/Mass Policy Director Marty Dagoberto participated in this last month’s HIP Lobby Day (virtual this year). See if you can find him in this photo from the last in-person HIP Lobby Day in 2019, above.

Details Here


Represent Agriculture at a Climate Change Hearing Let state policymakers know that agriculture should be considered in climate change policy. Attend one of two hearings on April 14 to provide input to the Global Warming Solutions Act Implementation Advisory Committee.
Details Here

NOFA/Mass back in the (State) House!

A person in a suit and tie in front of a marble staircase

NOFA/Mass Policy Director Marty Dagoberto at the Massachusetts Statehouse, March 2022.

Our Policy Director, Marty Dagoberto, took the opportunity to be among the first members of the public to visit legislators in person upon the opening of the State House in early March.

“Being a lobbyist (for the Earth!) relies upon relationships, and the juice was running thin through the Zoom screens. I wanted to take advantage of the novelty of a naked smiling face and make a few stops during this first open week,” Dagoberto remarked in an Instagram post. He continued, “I’m grateful to have this position as Policy Director of NOFA/Mass and to have the energetic support of our thousands of members and allies: gardeners, farmers, growers, landscapers, foodies and food activists who envision healthy, living and abundant land and foodscapes for all!”

This month’s newsletter relied heavily upon action materials generated by the MA Food System Collaborative. We are so grateful for their work and encourage our members to sign up for their monthly e-newsletter!