Healthy Food Access – What’s the Farm Bill got to do with it?

May 31, 2011

Author: Neighborhood Farm Initiative

Category: General News

Every five years, Congress gets to work on the nearly 300-billion dollar piece of legislation known as the “Farm Bill” – an “omnibus” bill that addresses everything from farm subsidies to commodity growers to SNAP and other programs to support those in need, from foreign food aid to grants from community food programs.

These policies combined set the framework for what and how we eat, and whether our food is nourishing and affordable, what assistance our society provides to feed hungry people. Set to expire in 2012, the most recent Farm Bill included some improvements, but still disproportionately supports a food system dominated by the large-scale, agribusiness approach to agriculture.

At the same time, here in DC, folks have been talking about how our food system is broken – more than one in eight families classify as food insecure, and nearly half of DC residents are overweight or obese. While the NFI & the DC Field to Fork Network believes that community gardens and urban food production can be part of the solution to these challenges, we can also join our voices together to demand systemic change.

Across the country and here in DC, the support for local farmers, fresh and healthy food, gardening, and farmers markets has reached new levels of enthusiasm. That enthusiasm for a new food system, however, has yet to be translated into new food policy. To achieve a Farm Bill that supports the kind of food system we want – one that nourishes our bodies, our land, and our communities – we’ve got to get involved!

Here’s one opportunity: the Neighborhood Farm Initiative is hosting Food and Water Watch for a conversation about the Farm Bill at our next Saturday morning workday! Join us for the Mamie D. Lee Community Garden clean-up day on Saturday, June 4th from 10 a.m. – noon. Then, stick around for a potluck and discussion beginning at noon!

The garden located right between the Mamie D. Lee school (100 Gallatin Street NE) and the Ft Totten Metro Station (Red, Yellow, & Green Lines) From the metro station, turn left (north) and walk up the sidewalk past where the buses stop.

Want to learn more? Check out Food and Water watch’s website, or one of my favorite facebook pages – Understanding the Farm Bill. Want to have one of these discussions in your garden or garden spaces? Contact khuynh@fwwatch.org or dcfieldtofork@gmail.com for more.

This post is cross-posted with the DC Food for All and Field to Fork Network.

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