For at least one day every year, people across the country join together on October 24 for a nationwide celebration of food and the ever-growing movement for an equitable, healthy, affordable, and sustainable food system. The timing of this year’s Food Day couldn’t come at a more critical time.
Food Day is an opportunity to underscore the importance of equitable access to healthy, affordable, sustainable food, and clarify the link between federal food and farm policy (‘the farm bill’) and the real impact it has on real people in their everyday lives. The farm bill impacts every American through its impact on the price of milk at the grocery store to the price of gas at the pump. While it has a direct impact on consumers, the farm bill is also a jobs bill. More than 16 million jobs across the country are associated with agriculture. Further, the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), the largest program in the farm bill, provides one of the highest rated tools for stimulating local economy that simultaneously promotes health and protects more than 46 million vulnerable Americans from hunger.
While policymakers grapple over whether there is enough political support to drive action before the end of the year, Food Day is an opportunity to drive home the point that food and farm policy matters to everyone because everybody eats. A farm bill that doesn’t support a strong and profitable farm economy for farmers and farm workers, that doesn’t support a diversity of farming systems of all sizes, that doesn’t promote a food system that results in equitable access to healthy affordable food for consumers, including those who are most vulnerable among us, means the farm bill doesn’t work for our economy. We need a new farm bill. And, Food Day reminds us that we are all in this together.
When Congress returns after the election, their attention will be on addressing the significant economic issues facing our country from the near term issues of spending and revenue to long term concerns of debt and deficits. The Farm Bill should be part of this conversation because it can be part of the solution. Congress has the opportunity to advance modern food and farm legislation that reflects the current needs of American producers and consumers, without compromising the long-term viability of the sector to perform at the highest level for the next generation.
Stay tuned for more information on how you can be involved to let Congress know that the Farm Bill matters to you.