The Raise Florida Network is a statewide network of grassroots, community and faith-based organizations, public and private institutions, legislators and coalition leaders working together across the State of Florida to develop support and expand equitable asset building opportunities. The Raise Florida Network seeks to build the case for inclusive policies and practices that support a progressive asset building policy agenda by weaving together research dissemination and a policy communication infrastructure that educates legislators, key stakeholders and coalition members that addresses the needs of low income families, individuals and communities of color. Building and preserving assets in low wealth communities of color is the model for The Raise Florida Network, supported by the Building Economic Security over a Lifetime Initiative, a project of the Ford Foundation.
RAISE FLORIDA NETWORK: GROWING TOGETHER
The Farm Bill
The current 2008 Farm Bill legislation ends in September and pressure is being put on politicians to get a new version out soon. It is important for the people that we work with that the 2012 farm bill gets out soon, or there will likely be no change in the Farm Bill until after the 2008 elections. The politicians on opposing sides have had trouble coming to a resolution on this Farm Bill, as there is less money allocated for the 2012 Farm Bill. One important issue to the people we work with is that many of the programs that support low income farmers and families in rural areas, are subject to deep cuts in funding.
Across the state, the Farmworkers Association has been meeting with community leadership to discuss the content of the farm bill and create important recommendations. They are working with those who protect access to food in rural areas, farm workers, and small family farmers who depend on many of these programs within the 2008 bill. Many of these farm workers who work on the farms, don’t have access to food for their families, and do not make enough money to survive without these programs. What comes out in the 2012 Farm Bill is important to small farmers, as many feel that the available funding from the current bill is primarily accessed by corporate farmers, and marginalizes small farmers. It is most important that we make sure the politicians understand what we (small family farmers, farmer workers, low income families in rural areas) need.
The association is also working to create an alternative market for small farmers and farm workers. Currently, they are working with two interest groups including small family immigrant farmers in Dade County and the Cinterros, those who harvest, package, and market the second harvest. The second harvest is the produce of vegetables left on the field after the first harvest has been sold. Small farmers sell this left over produce and sell in markets across the state. Dade County is the largest area of where Latino Farmers are concentrated.
Most of the produce sold by these groups, are purchased by small businesses, small restaurants, flea markets, and small grocery stores and since it’s locally grown and produced, it’s fresher. People are starting to buy from small farmers though corporate farmers are tapping into the market as well.
For more information about the Farmworkers Association please visit www.floridafarmworkers.org
The mission of the RAISE Florida Network is to promote awareness, education, resources and advocacy for economic security and wealth creation for families and communities in Florida. Our vision is to help families and communities achieve economic stability, build economic security, wealth and sustainable assets.
RAISE Florida Network partners are committed to efforts that support education and member involvement in the implementation of our policy agenda. In 2013, our policy focus:
- Individual Development Accounts – promoting savings plans to help families save for education, retirement, purchase a home, car or save for emergencies.
- Foreclosure – advancing options that help protect investments of families and homeowners, and fair lending products that support homeownership and financial independence.
- Microenterprise Development – securing support for entrepreneurs and education that help micro-business owners get access to capital and use program support provided by the government that help create jobs through entrepreneurship.
We are dedicated to creating access to public influence through the voices of people who are striving to make a difference, and impact the lives of people in communities of color and families who want to save, accumulate and preserve assets and realize the American Dream.
The structure of RAISE Florida is five main networks with specific tasks that further our mission and vision.
- Income, Assets and Savings Network (IASN)
- Florida Coalition for Microenterprise Development (FCMD)
- Housing and Community Development Network (HCDN)
- Historically Black Colleges and Universities and Higher Education Network (HBCU and Higher Education)
- Rural Economic Development Network (REDN)