This week, the USDA launched #MyFarmBill, a social media campaign emphasizing the importance of Farm Bill programs. As part of the campaign, USDA is asking people across the country to use their own voices and gadgets to make video selfies about what the Farm Bill means to them and why we need a comprehensive Food, Farms, and Jobs Bill.
Farmers can do it. Ranchers can do it. Market managers can do it. Grocery store buyers and shoppers can do it. Anyone who eats can do it. That means you.
There are lots of elements of the Farm Bill that affect you every day and the USDA and Wholesome Wave want to hear about it!
How can you participate? Grab your gadget and in 15 seconds or less tell the world what the Farm Bill means to you. Then post your video via Instagram, Vine, or Facebook. Don’t forget to use the #MyFarmBill hashtag so USDA won’t miss it and tag it @wholesomewave so we can see it too! USDA is posting incoming videos and comments on Storify and are even retweeting some of their favorites.
We all eat. We all have a voice. Most of us have gadgets. Please use yours and tell the world what the Farm Bill means to you.
The Wholesome Wave Policy Team
The Healthy Farms Healthy People Coalition is sharing the below information, that was distributed by Steering Committee member organization, Public Health Institute.
Public Health Institute Call to Action:
Tell the Senate: America Depends on Our Nutrition Programs
On Wednesday the Senate Budget Committee began considering proposals that would slash billions from our country’s nutrition programs-reducing funding that provides SNAP (food stamps) to over 47 million Americans, and completely eliminating the nutrition education program SNAP-Ed. As budget conversations continue over the next few days, a proposal on the table from Senator Roberts, to slash $36 billion, is expected to be the first of many misdirected attempts to balance the budget by literally taking healthy foods off of people’s plates. The proposed cuts could go even higher, if we don’t stand up for nutrition programs today.
On the heels of last week’s devastating sequester cuts, we can’t afford to sever one of the most important safety nets for our poorest families. Cutting nutrition programs won’t reduce poverty, stop children from going hungry or provide resources that improve diets.
Call your senators.
Farmers Market Coalition Applauds Bipartisan Leadership on Senate Farm Bill
(Charlottesville, VA) On Thursday, June 21st , the Senate passed the Agriculture Reform, Food and Jobs Act (ARFJA) with a 64-35 vote, after considering several dozen proposed amendments to the bill. The Farmers Market Coalition commends the bipartisan commitment to healthy debate and effective action on long-needed steps to reform and improve the nation’s food policy.
Farmers Market Coalition members were instrumental in reaching out to Senators leading up to the last two days of debate, urging for continuation and expansion of the flagship Farmers Market Promotion Program into the new Farmers Market and Local Foods Promotion Program.
While the Act includes some cuts to conservation programs, the Senate bill does adopt some important amendments, including by Senator Brown (D-OH) on rural development and beginning farmers, by Senator Merkley (D-OR) on crop insurance for organic farmers, by Senator Grassley (R-IA) on commodity payment limit reform, and Senator Wyden (D-OR) on farm to school pilot programs.
As passed, the bill includes the following provisions essential for expanding retail opportunities for small and mid-sized farms while making fresh, nutritious local foods available to communities of all income-levels. Several of the provisions included in the Senate’s bill address the Farmers Market Coalition 2012 Policy Priorities:
● Farmers Market and Local Food Promotion Program – Increases funding to $20 million a year and expands the scope of the highly popular Farmers Market Promotion Program to include additional outlets for processing, marketing, and distributing local foods.
● Specialty Crop Block Grants – Increases funding to $70 million per year for five years from the current level of $55 million per year with provisions to allow for collaborative projects among multiple states.
● Innovations in SNAP Technology – Authorizes pilots of mobile applications and online ordering for authorized SNAP retailers and includes provisions to permit SNAP redemption by community supported agriculture (CSAs).
● Senior Farmers Market Nutrition Program (WIC) – Maintains mandatory funding at $20 million annually to provide assistance to low-income seniors and ensure access to the fresh, local food at farmers markets.
● Hunger-Free Community Incentive Grants – A total of $100 million to create a new grant for incentive programs to increase fruit and vegetable purchases by SNAP customers at farmers markets and other healthy food retailers .
● Community Food Projects – Doubles funding from the current $5 million per year to $10 million per year to support the development of comprehensive projects to fight food insecurity and increase the self-reliance of communities in providing for their food needs.
Sources in the House of Representatives indicate a strong interest in moving forward on a House Farm Bill process after the July 4th recess, with a committee mark-up process scheduled for July 11th. The Farmers Market Coalition encourages House members to follow the Senate’s lead by supporting these innovative, cost-effective, and far-reaching provisions.
“With the current Farm Bill expiring on September 30th, we hope that the House will follow the Senate’s lead on cost-saving reforms that continue to invest in a more resilient, equitable, and diversified food system, ” said Stacy Miller, Executive Director of the Farmers Market Coalition. “We urge the House to retain the Senate’s language on these critical programs, in recognition the economic, social and nutritional impacts farmers markets have in more than 7,000 communities nationwide, for at least 50,000 innovative agricultural producers.”
About Farmers Market CoalitionThe Farmers Market Coalition is a non-profit 501(c)3 organization who seeks to strengthen farmers markets’ capacity to serve farmers, consumers, and communities by providing the rapidly growing movement with information and representation at state and federal levels. FMC is a hub for cross-pollination of best practices and public information, representing more than 3,500 farmers markets through its membership. FMC mobilizes peer leadership and grow farmers market capacity to link sustainable farmers with neighbors seeking healthier relationships to food and their community. For more information, tools, and resources please visit http://www.farmersmarketcoalition.org.
I rely on their farm bill information and encourage you to support their work.
The National Sustainable Agriculture Coalition (NSAC) is an alliance of grassroots organizations that advocates for federal policy reform to advance the sustainability of agriculture, food systems, natural resources, and rural communities.