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Sustainable Food Systems and the Farm Bill

As the Senate Committee on Agriculture, Nutrition and Forestry voted the Agriculture Reform, Food and Jobs Act — the proposed name for the 2012 Farm Bill — out of Committee on Thursday, April 26th, the mark up process had already begun.

From the National Sustainable Agriculture Coalition’s  Path to the 2012 Farm Bill reporting, here are some of the Senate mark ups, in the Nutrition Title, that Hazon would like to remain in the final Farm Bill.

  • Thanks to an amendment offered by Sen. Leahy and passed out of committee, the bill now includes a provision that would make it easier for SNAP recipients to participate in Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) programs.
  • Chairwoman Stabenow (D-MI) championed a new program, with a total of $100 million in  mandatory funding over five years, to encourage purchases of fruits and vegetables by SNAP consumers at retail outlets, including farmers markets.  The grants are modeled after the successful work of Fair Food Network’s Double Up Food Bucks program.
  • Also noteworthy is the addition of the Healthy Food Financing Initiative (HFFI) – it was not in the original bill presented on April 20th but was included in the revised version on April 25 and included in the bill voted out of committee.  The initiative, which aims to improve access to healthy food in low-income communities, is authorized to receive up to $125 million (no time period is provided for) in discretionary funding through the annual appropriations process.

Visit the National Sustainable Agriculture Coaltion blog for complete coverage of the Farm Bill in relation to the Conversation Title, the Energy Title, organic agriculture, and rural development.

This is the latest in a series of regular updates on the development of the next Farm Bill which will be provided by Judith Belasco, Director of Programs at Hazon. If you are interested in writing about your work on the Farm Bill, please be in touch.

Further reading:

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