From helping connect food banks with produce, grains and protein, to ensuring millions of our neighbors are able to afford groceries every month, there is one piece of federal legislation that is critical to addressing hunger in America: the Farm Bill. Every five years, Congress has an opportunity to pass a Farm Bill that strengthens our nation’s commitment to hunger relief. As grocery prices remain high and supply chain disruptions continue – the time is now to support a strong Farm Bill.
What is the Farm Bill?
The Farm Bill is the backbone of food assistance and farm policy in the United States. It’s a large piece of federal legislation that determines funding and more for programs that support our neighbors facing hunger, as well as programs that help facilitate getting fresh produce from farms to food banks. This year, lawmakers have an opportunity to “reauthorize” the Farm Bill – to update and change the policies it supports.
Why is the Farm Bill important in addressing food insecurity?
With passage of the 2023 Farm Bill sometime this year, our country has a viable pathway to help the nearly 34 million people facing hunger in the U.S. to put food on the table because it determines policy for two federal programs that are important to ending hunger in America.
- Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP): Commonly called ‘EBT,’ this program is the cornerstone of our nation’s response to hunger. Using a card pre-loaded with funds, SNAP users can purchase food at their local grocery store. For every meal the Feeding America network provides, SNAP provides nine. Every month, 40 million individuals and families across the country receive SNAP benefits to purchase food.
- The Emergency Food Assistance Program (TEFAP): Connects farms to food banks and helps those food banks transport and store U.S.-grown fruits and vegetables, as well as dairy and protein, so it can be quickly distributed in the community. TEFAP provided 1.24 billion pounds of food to the Feeding America food bank network between July 2021 and June 2022 which helped us provide over 1 billion meals. But the amount of food the network received decreased which is why we’re advocating for increased TEFAP funding to not only help those facing hunger, but also to support the American agricultural economy.
What does a strong Farm Bill look like?
A strong Farm Bill is one that supports and strengthens SNAP, so that our neighbors are able to afford the food they need to thrive, even as food prices remain high. A strong Farm Bill is also one that ensures more food purchases through TEFAP, so more domestically grown produce, dairy and protein, moves from our nation’s farms to your local food banks. This supply of food remains critical as food purchase costs are high and supply chain issues persist.
Here are Feeding America’s 2023 Farm Bill priorities:
- Increase TEFAP funding
- Bolster the TEFAP Farm to Food Bank Program
- Protect SNAP purchasing power
- Streamline SNAP eligibility and enrollment processes
- Provide better support for individuals seeking employment
- Ensure sovereignty for Native communities
- Reauthorize and streamline Commodity Supplemental Food Program
- Ensure parity in food assistance for Puerto Rico and other U.S. territories
- Ensure the inclusion of cultural foods in hunger-relief programs
How can I help?
This is a critical moment for millions of our neighbors facing hunger. Join us by signing this petition to help us tell Congress to pass a strong Farm Bill today.