I grew up in South Minneapolis and attended Laura Ingles Wilder Public School. My mom was a school breakfast and lunch lady and often out of need I ate two meals a day at school. These programs were vitally important to me and my family as I grew up and they are even more so to our friends and neighbors here in Red Hook.
Currently more than 95% of the students at PS 15 are eligible for free and reduced lunch. This means that the vast majority of families that send their children to PS 15 qualify for SNAP (the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program formerly known as food stamps). In a neighborhood where unemployment is more than 50%, these programs are not just important, they are essential to the health and well being of our neighbors.
Equally important, and something that politicians don’t often say, is that SNAP, and these other food benefit programs are highly effective forms of economic development. By providing those most in need with assistance with purchasing foods of their choice we are creating customers for grocers and bodega’s in our neighborhood.
Supplemental food programs are vitally important to our friends, our neighbors and the businesses that we frequent each day. Please take a few minutes and, either cut and paste the information below into an email, or craft your own words letting the House of Representative know that we need a Farm Bill that will feed our nation, not just large agricultural corporations.
Your neighbor and CSA member
The House of Representatives Committee on Agriculture is at work on its version of the 2012 Food & Farm Bill right now. (The Senate Agriculture Committee passed its version out of committee just a few weeks back). Now is the time to tell the House what we want to see in the Farm Bill!
The House Committee on Agriculture has set up a comment box for constituents to submit their feedback. It’s open to everyone, but comments must be in by this Sunday, May 20.
To be heard, simply cut the message below and paste it into the Comments Box at http://agriculture.house.gov/farmbill_feedback.html – or write your own message! This is easy, and important, and it will only take a minute to send your message to the Committee.
As the Committee considers the 2012 Food and Farm Bill, I urge you to:
First, support our fight against hunger by maintaining and strengthening critical nutrition programs in this time of unprecedented need. We must not solve our budget problems on the backs of those experiencing food insecurity, including our most vulnerable – our children, the elderly, and the disabled;
Second, provide an even “plowing” field by fully funding programs supporting beginning and socially disadvantaged farmers and ranchers, organic farming, regional farming and food economies, and rural development. We need more farmers and ranchers, more sustainable food production, and more economic opportunity in our food system;
Third, end direct payments and counter-cyclical commodity programs, replacing them with loophole-free agriculture risk coverage and implement a cap on crop insurance premium subsidies. We must support farmers that really need the help, not the biggest farms that don’t.
And fourth, eliminate the Environmental Quality Incentives Program (EQIP) livestock set-aside to limit funds granted to concentrated animal feeding operations (CAFOs) for waste management infrastructure and protect the Conservation Stewardship Program (CSP) from disproportionate cuts and improve it by ranking applications solely on their conservation benefits. We must ensure that limited conservation funding maximizes lasting environmental benefits.
NYC Food and Farm Bill Working Group