Monday, July 23, 2012

Why the food fight over the Farm Bill matters to you

Anna Goren, AmeriCorps VISTA at SFC Member Jewish Family Service Food Bank, reflects on the Farm Bill. 

The Farm Bill is a classic democratic-process-headache: a 1,000 page piece of legislation that takes on all things food and agriculture related.
It covers everything from food stamps to farmland conservation to nutrition programs to farm subsidies.
Past versions have mostly benefited big farmers of soy, corn, and other commodity crops, along with large corporations who control most of the food industry (see infographic at right for more).
With the interests of nutrition experts, anti-hunger groups, small and large farmers, agri-business, and politicians vying for their once-in-every-five-year shot at staking claims in the Farm Bill, it comes as no surprise that it stirred up a bipartisan food fight in the House of Representatives last week.
Democrats and Republicans are still battling between saving food stamps and nutrition programs and cutting the federal budget, so passage of the bill may be delayed until after the Presidential election in November.

Friday, July 20, 2012

Children's Alliance: Kids' nutrition at risk in House Farm Bill

Original post from the Children's Alliance blog:
One million people in Washington use the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) to feed their families. Two out of every 3 households receiving assistance includes a child. Washington’s children are at great risk of hunger – an experience no child should go through.
Congress has been considering some dangerous changes to federal policy governing SNAP. And as bad as the Senate version of the Farm Bill would be for Washington’s children, the version passed out of the House Agriculture Committee last week is worse.
The starting point for the House bill is the Senate’s harmful limitation on state “heat and eat” options that allow more families to receive larger utility deductions and higher benefits. Here in Washington, this will cut the monthly food budgets of nearly a quarter million families by 37 percent. And the House version makes two additional harmful changes.
First, it eliminates the state’s flexibility to change food stamp qualifications that help the recently unemployed. This change will force jobseekers to get rid of items they’ll need to get back on their feet, like the family car. It will also throw more than 80,000 Washington families completely off the program.