I’d like to contribute to the Farm Bill discussion initiated earlier this week in a Baltimore Sun op-ed penned by Tom Albright, Holly Freishtat and the CLF’s own Bob Lawrence. The op-ed called for farmers’ markets to be provided with electronic benefits transfer (EBT) technology, to ensure that they are able to process purchases made with SNAP benefits (otherwise known as food stamps). The authors rightly point out that providing EBT at farmers’ markets would provide both a financial boon for local farmers, and increased access to fresher, more nutritious food for SNAP participants, who often live in areas where such food can be hard to come by and difficult to afford. I encourage you to read the op-ed for more information on the cost and benefits of this provision, and would like to add a few additional points for your consideration. Read More >
Normally, passing the Farm Bill takes at least a year and involves a great deal of input from interest groups of all stripes. That process allows air-time for the voices fighting for healthier, more sustainable, and more equitable food systems. This time around, however, the process may happen entirely behind closed doors—and at breakneck speed.
You may be asking yourself: How can this process be so undemocratic?
Let’s look at what the House and Senate Agriculture Committees are doing at this very moment. The leadership of the two committees is drafting their own version of the Bill, reportedly with little or no input from other committee members, and will make recommendations to the Super Committee in the next few days. The Super Committee can then do whatever they want with the recommendations: ignore them, change them, or adopt them. Any debate will happen in secret. Read More >