Action Alert from Rural Coalition
The 2013 Farm Bill Debate Moves to the Full Senate Floor – Action Needed!
NEXT UP – The Senate Agriculture Committee passed their version of the 2013 Farm Bill and have already prepared it for Senate Floor action where debate is expected to begin today May 21st. Amendments are being introduced and now is a critical time to ask your Senators to cosponsor and vote for critical amendments on the Senate floor. We will send a fuller list of amendments later in the day. For the moment, we urge you to take rapid action to support several amendments especially important to achieving equity for all farmers.
Senate Amendments to Increase Equity in the 2013 Farm Bill
Senator Tom Udall is introducing an amendment this morning to restore funding to the Outreach and Assistance Program for Socially Disadvantaged and Veteran Farmers and Ranchers.
He is also working on additional amendments – one would make a receipt for service automatic for to all farmers requesting service to help assure that all farmers and ranchers receive equitable access to and uniform information about all USDA programs, and to improve access for traditional irrigation association members to expand conservation practices.
We urge you to call your two Senators as soon as possible this morning to urge them to co-sponsor and vote for Senator Tom Udall’s amendment to restore funding of $17 million annually to the Outreach and Assistance Program for Socially Disadvantaged and Veteran Farmers and Ranchers.
Keep Reading …
Cross-posted from the Food Chain Workers Alliance
Sign our petition on SignOn.org telling members of Congress that as a consumer, you’re willing to pay an extra dime a day so that 29 million workers can receive a much needed raise and they should support the Fair Minimum Wage Act. Read the blog post below to learn more!
By Saru Jayaraman and Joann Lo
Big Food companies and their lobbying groups have lied to us many times. They convinced Congress to include tomato paste on pizzas as a vegetable. They say we need industrial, chemical-laden agriculture to feed the world (check out Anna Lappé’s new video Food MythBusters to learn that we don’t). And Big Food has also spread the mythology that if the minimum wage is raised, food will become so expensive that none of us will be able to afford to eat out – or eat at all – again.
Yes, that’s a lie! On this Food Day 2012, our organizations are releasing a new report, A Dime a Day: The Impact of the Miller/Harkin Minimum Wage Proposal on the Price of Food. The proposed Fair Minimum Wage Act, introduced this year by Representative George Miller (D-CA) in the House and Senator Tom Harkin (D-IA) in the Senate would raise the federal minimum wage from $7.25 to $9.80 per hour over the next 3 years and the tipped minimum wage from $2.13 to 70% of the regular minimum wage.
We found that this increase in the regular minimum wage and the tipped minimum wage would have a minuscule impact on food costs. Even if the entire cost of increased wages is passed on to consumers, grocery store prices would rise, on average, less than half of 1 percent over the three-year phase-in of the new minimum wage and restaurant food prices would also increase by less than one percent per year. This would mean a $0.45 increase on a $20 restaurant bill over three years.
Click here to keep reading.
By Gabrielle Serra
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.
Monday June 25, 2012 3:00 PM – 4:00 PM EDT
What’s at Stake in the Farm Bill: Health, Innovation and Equity
Named one of “Nine Innovative Food Websites You Can’t Live Without” by Forbes, IATP’s What’s at Stake Series takes a fresh look at seven key issues for the 2012 Farm Bill. As debate of the 2012 farm bill continues, this webinar will highlight three key issues from the IATP series: health, equity and publicly funded research. Jennifer Billig will discuss how food and agricultural policy is disconnected from concerns for public health even though the health impacts of the farm bill are considerable. Food and Community Fellow and New Mexico farmer Don Bustos will focus on justice and equity issues in the farm bill. In particular, he will discuss inequitable support for socially disadvantaged farmers, many of whom grow fruits and vegetables. Mark Muller will discuss how public research heavily influences the small price differences that sway important decisions, including those made by corporations about what food products to develop and market, as well as those made by consumers about what to feed their families.
Click here to register.
Urban agriculture is one strategy for improving food security and creating economic opportunity in cities. PolicyLink is kicking off a series of webinars (To register, click here) that look at the various ways that urban agriculture is transforming low-income communities and communities of color. For more information about urban agriculture as a food access strategy, check out PolicyLink’s Urban Agriculture Tool (http://www.policylink.org/site/c.lkIXLbMNJrE/b.7634055/k.102B/Urban_Agriculture_and_Community_Gardens.htm?msource=urbagwebinar&tr=y&auid=10225984) and Public Health Law & Policy’s Seeding the City: Land Use Policies to Promote Urban Agriculture (http://www.phlpnet.org/childhood-obesity/products/urban-ag-toolkit).