In a Maine airport shop, I beeline for the local food souvenirs, my eye roving from a set of Stonewall Products over to several local blueberry jams. More than I expected, in fact. One comes from Out on a Limb, a small home jam-making operation that got started thanks to Maine’s cottage food law.
It’s time to support farmers who think small. In the latest report showing how small-scale farmers get the shaft, the Center for Rural Affairs found that a poor understanding of sustainable agriculture has led to a bias against lending to these farmers—many of whom are deemed too risky so they get charged extra fees. And banks aren’t the only ones neglecting these growers.
Development agencies across the country are ignoring the needs of small-scale producers and other small food enterprises, offering few opportunities for business assistance and training. Without small business development resources, those in regional food production have limited access to the capital needed to grow. Across the country, small and midsize producers, processors, and distributors provide critical support to local economies by creating jobs and building wealth that stays in the community. Read more