What is the Farm Bill?
The Farm Bill is a package of federal legislation that must be passed every five years that governs a range of food and agricultural programs, including the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) and The Emergency Food Assistance Program (TEFAP). This bill is vitally important, as it can make the difference between having food on the table or having millions of Americans go hungry. The current version, the Agriculture Improvement Act of 2018, is set to expire this September.
Over the past two years, the Center for Science in the Public Interest has collaborated with local grassroot advocates across the country to address food access issues at the state and local level. Building on this work, CSPI recently convened grantees, community advocates, and national partners to address food and nutrition security on the federal level.
Bringing grassroots advocates to Capitol Hill
On June 15th, CSPI hosted its first ever Farm Bill lobby day with nearly 50 participants, representing 16 states, and attending a total of 67 meetings with Members of Congress and staff.
Groups advocated for a variety of legislative changes that mattered most to their communities, such as strengthening access to SNAP, fortifying SNAP fruit and vegetable benefits, and expanding access to local produce through emergency food programs, among many others.
For some participants, this was their first time lobbying and sharing their Farm Bill priorities with Congress. CSPI provided training, resources, and an opportunity for stakeholders to meet in person and share their work. As one participant said, “It's great to know that there's a wonderful community of anti-hunger advocates across the country.”
What happens next?
As the deadline to renew the Farm Bill approaches, we’re working with our champions in Congress to include our priorities in this next iteration. This includes:
- Opt for Health with SNAP Act, which increases funding for the Gus Schumacher Nutrition Incentive Program (GusNIP); and
- SNAP Nutrition Security Act, which would provide the tools and research to build a healthier SNAP.
Get connected with our network of local advocates: