Why you should care about the Farm Bill

Metro Caring’s blog has returned from a deep hibernation—what, might you ask, has awoken it from the long slumber? 

Why, the 2018 United States Farm Bill of course!

Why is Metro Caring interested in the Farm Bill?  Thank you for asking, and while we’re answering, here’s why you should be interested too:

To borrow the National Sustainable Agriculture Coalition’s (NSAC) concise description: “In the simplest terms, the farm bill has a tremendous impact on farming livelihoods, how food is grown, and what kinds of foods are grown.  This in turn affects the environment, local economies, and public health.  These are some pretty good reasons to become involved in advocating for a farm bill that supports health and sustainability!”

If that doesn’t pique your interest, watch this National Farmers’ Union video that does a good job introducing the different pieces that affect the people that produce much of the food we all eat.

Our friends at LiveWell Colorado advocate for policies on a state and federal level and have offered specifics on what to fight for in the Farm Bill, especially on behalf of the population that Metro Caring often serves.  Here are some highlights:

  • Support Structural Integrity of Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP)
  • Support Healthy Food Access in Low-Income Communities and Communities of Color
    • Provide robust, permanent funding for Food Insecurity Nutrition Incentives (FINI)
    • Increase annual mandatory funding for Farm to School (FtS) grant program from $5 to $15 million through the Farm to School Act
  • Support Infrastructure Development for Local and Regional Food Systems & Socially Disadvantaged Farmers
    • Create an Agricultural Market Development Program by integrating existing programs and funding streams into one comprehensive program through the Local FARMS Act
    • For more on the Farm Bill with an equity lens, read NSAC’s blog which offers a detailed description of the Farm Bill’s opportunity to address racial equity in agriculture.

Lastly, we would be remiss if we didn’t highlight our colleagues at Hunger Free Colorado.  You can read their take on the Farm Bill from a local perspective, which also gives you plenty of ideas for engaging your Congress members.  It's time to advocate for our food and farms, as this bill only comes around every five years.  That’s worth waking up from a deep slumber for!

Reuben Gregory