Monday, June 11, 2012

The Farm Bill

If you didn't know already, the new draft of the Farm Bill is currently in debate on the Senate floor. This behemoth piece of legislation consists of 5 years and billions and billions of dollars of funding for nutrition, commodity subsidies, farm insurance, conservation, and other food and farm programs. Historically, the Farm Bill was established to assist farmers in a volatile and flooded marketplace. Today it is best known alternatively as the source of commodities that support a broken agribusiness program, and as the source of the largest single government handout (SNAP, formerly food stamps, is funded by the bill).

Love it or hate it, this piece of legislation is a crucial measure of the food and farm environment in our nation. It has the potential to do great good and great harm. It is vital that we each know what the Farm Bill is, and the affect that it has on the foods available to us and the farmers in our communities.

Here are three things that you can read that will catch you up to speed on the Farm Bill 2012 happenings: 

First there is an awesome infographic that summarizes the history of the Farm Bill, it's current function, and the affect that it has on our lives as Americans.

Second there is a report from the Community Food Security Coalition about the current amendments and proposed funding per program for the 2012 bill. 

Finally, there is a letter recently delivered to Congress from the foremost food advocates in our country: Michael Pollan, Alice Waters, Wendell Berry, and about 30 other major voices for our food system appeal to Congress to pass an effective Farm Bill that invests in a healthy and sustainable future for our nation. Very inspiring.

All right then... that's a quick and dirty introduction to the Farm Bill situation. If you are moved to act by reading any of the above, please take a moment to call your congressperson. You can find their phone number via the US Capitol switchboard by calling (202) 224-3121, and asking for your senator's or representative's office. Thank you for advocating for a better food future in America!

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