Nutrition security priorities for the 2024 Farm Bill

Cornfield at sunset

Jake Gard - unsplash.com.

The 2024 Farm Bill is a critical opportunity for Congress to address long-standing nutritional inequities, strengthen the food system infrastructure, and lower the burden of healthcare costs for millions of Americans. 

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CSPI’s top priorities:

Increase purchasing power for nutritious foods
  • Strengthen the Gus Schumacher Nutrition Incentive Program by increasing overall funds to $3 billion to continue national expansion in-store and online, reducing or eliminating the match requirement for more equitable distribution of funds and scalability, and targeting recruitment and support for diverse types of retailers to increase access to culturally desirable foods.
Improve the healthfulness of retail food environments
  • The USDA should explore ways to further improve retail environments to include stronger stocking standards to increase availability of foods in-store and online that align with the latest Dietary Guidelines for Americans.
Invest in research to strengthen food and nutrition security
  • Continue the momentum, first established in the 2008 Farm Bill, by investing $100 million in state-based nutrition security demonstration projects. 
  • Establish a metric for measuring and reporting the impact of SNAP participation on nutrition security, on parity with food security.
  • Provide regular reports on aggregate level, SNAP purchase data to give insight into affordability of foods, the timing of purchases within a monthly benefit issuance cycle, and the types of products typically purchased with SNAP funds. The last time USDA did a study on foods typically purchased by SNAP households was from 2011 data from one leading grocery retailer.
Increase nutrition security within the charitable food system
  • Increase TEFAP Farm to Food Bank (FTFB) funding to at least $25 million annually. In addition, remove the state match requirement within the TEFAP FTFB program and allow for the purchase of food. The FTFB supply chain is a key opportunity to fight hunger and increase nutritious donations while cutting food waste. The current funding is not enough to support the full extent of FTFB opportunities in each state. Allowing funds to be used for purchasing food and eliminating the match requirement can better support the participation of smaller producers and less resourced states.
Reduce barriers for eligibility in SNAP
  • Adopt culturally-responsive nutrition guidelines for all USDA Food Distribution Programs. Comprehensive nutrition guidelines are currently absent from USDA Food Distribution Programs. Requiring guidelines would correct current nutritional quality disparities among USDA programs and ensure the charitable food system is receiving health-promoting, culturally appropriate food that would better address the needs of the populations served.
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