FCS Diversity and Inclusion - PROPOSED RULE - MARCH 2011 Dear Mr. Van Meter,
I love my farmer's market and will soon be working for a small goat cheese farmer to sell at farmer's markets around Seattle, WA. Thank you for taking public comment on the important work that you do to make local food systems better. In your efforts to diversify the FCS loan portfolio I would ask that in defining what needs to be included in FCS marketing plans that you include
1. An investment goal for local and regional food producers of not less than 10% of each institution’s capital within 5 years.
2. A plan for conducting outreach to local and regional food producers.
3. A commitment to adding local and regional food producers to the FCS board.
4. A plan for providing staff development training to FCS personnel across the full spectrum of lending, accounting, farm transfer and business planning services appropriate for serving local and regional food producers. 5. A plan for developing lending and business support products with terms and benefits appropriate for local and regional food producers. and finally... 6. An inventory of strengths and weaknesses of financing for local and regional food infrastructure (aggregation, processing, distributing, etc.) and an FCA plan for how to use FCS local and regional food producer financing to leverage other public and private capital necessary to address the larger weaknesses in the rest of the local and regional food supply chain.
All of these inclusions are appropriate for small to mid-sized farmers who sell their local produce at our local farmer's markets. This would encourage a great move forward in creating a stronger local economy and a stronger local food system.
Thank you for your time and the work that you do. Candace Wilkinson
Candace Wilkinson 1715 15th Avenue Seattle, WA 98122