Notes from the Field


RIFPC’s 2024 Legislative Priorities

On October 18, RIFPC announced its 2024 Legislative Priorities to an audience of more than 40 state representatives, senators, state officials, staff from congressional delegates’ offices, and Council members at East Greenwich’s Boesch Farm, the home of  Pat’s Pastured.

Co-hosted this year by Representative Justine Caldwell and Senator Bridget Valverde, the annual event aims to lift up issues about the state of our food system, hear from RI’s food and farming community, and learn about the Council’s policy priorities for the upcoming legislative session. Attendees enjoyed a locally sourced charcuterie spread featuring Pat’s Pastured meats paired with products made by Sweet & Salty Farm, Narraganset Creamery, Shewatuck Farm, and Meadowland Greens, as well as a guided farm tour courtesy of farmer-owners Patrick and Kelly McNiff following the announcement.

RIFPC’s legislative priorities are the result of hundreds of hours and many months of work group discussions, strategic planning, data analysis, and community outreach. The 2024 Rhode Island Food Policy Legislative Priorities are:

ALLEVIATE THE BENEFITS CLIFF: Support access to benefit programs by enabling participants to remain eligible up to 250% of the Federal Poverty Line through the use of a sliding scale. 

BOOST SUPPORTS FOR LOCAL COMPOSTING: Divert organic material from the landfill by funding and supporting community-based composting operations. Provide technical assistance to food scrap producers and ensure that Rhode Islanders have equitable access to composting options.

EMPOWER SECOND-STAGE FOOD BUSINESSES: Invest statewide in physical infrastructure, technical assistance, and capital support for food businesses that have passed the start-up phase and are scaling up. 

INCENTIVIZE SURPLUS FOOD DONATION: Create a tax credit for qualified taxpayers that donate food to Rhode Island organizations to address food insecurity, propel environmental sustainability, support local businesses, and help make surplus food donation a common practice.

PRESERVE ACTIVE FARMLAND: Support land access for farming by ensuring consistent, adequate funding for the Agricultural Land Preservation Commission through the state’s Green Bond. 

PROVIDE HEALTHY SCHOOL MEALS FOR ALL: Make an investment in our children by providing free breakfast and lunch to all students, while promoting local food purchasing and ensuring culturally appropriate menus. 

REDUCE TAX BURDENS FOR URBAN & SMALL FARMERS: Strengthen urban and small farmers by ensuring their farming operations remain competitive by reducing tax burdens. 

Download RIFPC’s 2024 Legislative Priorities one-pager

View photos

View and listen to the speaking presentation captured onsite by CaptiolTV.