Ashley Rube, Author at St. Louis Area Foodbank

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A Farm Bill for Our Future

January is nearly over, but 2018 has only just begun, and it’s shaping up to be a big year for anti-hunger advocates. September 30, 2018 marks the expiration of the Agricultural Act of 2014, commonly known as the Farm Bill. That means that the USDA and Congress are busy at work putting together a brand-new Farm Bill to reauthorize and fund dozens of federal programs for the next five years.

The Farm Bill includes programs and funding not only for farmers but also for nutrition and anti-hunger programs, research, conservation, and more.
The Farm Bill includes programs and funding not only for farmers but also for nutrition and anti-hunger programs, research, conservation, and more.

But the Farm Bill’s name can be deceiving. As former U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack put it, “the bill covers much more than farms and farmers […] every farm bill also affects conservation, trade, nutrition, jobs and infrastructure, agricultural research, forestry and energy.”

No matter your vocation – or whether you’ve ever stepped foot on a farm or not – the Farm Bill should be on your radar. It’s a massive bill with massive importance for every American that eats food, drinks water, uses fuel….or believes in ending hunger once and for all.

The majority of the Farm Bill is devoted to SNAP (formerly known as food stamps) and other nutrition programs that incentivize healthy eating and ease the burden of food insecurity for millions of families every year. In fact, the St. Louis Area Foodbank partners with the federal government to operate a number of Farm Bill programs – like the Commodity Supplemental Food Program and The Emergency Food Assistance Program – on behalf of food insecure people living in Missouri and Illinois.

Thanks to the Farm Bill, we make a bigger impact in our region and in the lives of our hungry neighbors every day. Our government partnership, codified in the Farm Bill, demonstrates what our other partnerships with non-profits, businesses, manufacturers and farmers also teach us – that we can do more and do better for those in need when we work together.

Certainly the Farm Bill is about programming and funding.

But it’s also about our collective, national commitment to meeting people’s most basic needs and fundamental rights.

That’s why we at the St. Louis Area Foodbank have signed a letter alongside Feeding America and other anti-hunger organizations urging Congress to reauthorize our new Farm Bill with this commitment and responsibility in mind. From strong SNAP funding to programs that connect farmers’ excess food to those in need, we believe policy can make a real difference in the lives of the 1 in 8 Americans facing hunger.

We will be keeping a close eye on the Farm Bill in the months to come. We hope you’ll join us.

 

In the meantime, consider taking action today by lending your voice to the cause! Sign this petition and tell Congress why our country’s commitment to feeding the hungry is important to you and why we should protect federal nutrition programs in the next Farm Bill.

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Check back here to learn more about the Farm Bill, the St. Louis Area Foodbank’s policy priorities, and the ways you can join us in anti-hunger advocacy.

Signing-On for Strong Policy

2017 brings with it enormous change to the political landscape, from a new president and Congress to new state and local leadership. While so much change can feel disruptive and unpredictable, it also opens up abundant opportunities for advocacy on behalf of the people we serve and the causes we stand behind. That’s why the Foodbank is busy at work, forging relationships with our new leadership and supporting the anti-hunger programs – like SNAP, CSFP, and TEFAP – upon which so many Americans rely.

This month we have already signed on to a letter directed to Illinois’ leadership, joining over 120 of our partners within and beyond our service area to support the programs and legislation we know effectively fight hunger across the country.

As a signee of this letter, we are specifically asking Illinois’ 2 senators and 18 representatives to strengthen federal nutrition programs and protect them against cuts. We are also offering our help in addressing hunger statewide and across the nation.

The St. Louis Area Foodbank has signed this letter because we know the programs it defends work – assisting families struggling to put food on the table, promoting health, helping kids succeed in school, supporting farmers, and boosting local economies.

We have also signed because we believe making our voice heard and working with our elected officials is an essential way forward in the fight against hunger.

Check out the letter here.

And check back often for more news, updates, and ways to make a difference as a hunger advocate!