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Push for Student Loan Forgiveness Could Remove Barrier to New Entry Farmers

The centerpiece of the College Cost Reduction and Access Act of 2007 is the Public Service Loan Forgiveness option that allows individuals employed in certain public service areas to have any remaining loan debt discharged after 10 years of repayment. It also allows participants to utilize the Income Based Repayment schedule during those 10 years to inspire people to go into under-served and low earning, not-for-profit or community sustaining fields. Farming, with it’s aging participants, low on-farm income earning capacity and importance to local communities, regions and the country at large, is a perfect employment area to be added to the list of professions eligible for forgiveness. Read more

Bad Seed Farm in Kansas City Brings Urban Farming to the Next Level: Legislation

Urban farming is not new — its been a way to feed cities for thousands of years. But in the US, it was purposely planned out of our cities, even as they grew bigger and, as a result, hungrier. Now many of our cities contain massive sprawl, which have created new opportunities in the form of abandoned lots, a consequence of the economic downturn. But we also have a mobilized movement of individuals interested in feeding people, especially those without access to healthy fruits and vegetables (many of whom reside in cities). But connecting these dots is sometimes more complicated than it seems.

As urban farming takes hold across the nation, reviving old school ways of supporting communities with homegrown food, it will inevitably bump into resistance in the form of outdated laws and legislative confusion around this up and coming issue, in addition to complaints by neighbors who don’t see the value in having a farm nearby when there are still packed shelves at the supermarket. These neighbors worry about their views, are disturbed by farm animal noises and deposits, and fear property value declines, which have more to do with economics than kale.

These anticipated problems now have a face — Bad Seed Farm is at the center of a neighborhood zoning debate in Kansas City, Missouri. Read more