May 16, 2018
The U.S. House of Representatives is currently debating a draft of the Farm Bill that could threaten the progress we’ve made in creating a more sustainable food system, from farm to fork.
Ask your member of Congress to reject this proposal and go back to the drawing board.
The Farm Bill is a massive piece of legislation that dictates the type of farming and food system in our country. It has significant impacts right here in Maryland and the Chesapeake Bay region. At its best, the Farm Bill funds critical programs that small and mid-size farmers depend on, helps the agriculture industry adopt more sustainable practices, and supports the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), which ensures individuals living in poverty can put food on the table.
Here in Maryland, we’ve made significant progress to lessen the negative impacts of industrial-scale farming on our waterways and land, while simultaneously supporting family farmers who sell their products locally and focus on innovative and regenerative practices to protect the environment. While past versions of the Farm Bill have been far from perfect, they have been able to help in this progress.
But as written, this Farm Bill proposed by the House Agriculture Committee would:
- Defund innovative local and regional food programs that support farmers markets, organic agriculture, small and mid-size farmers, and more;
- Put harsh restrictions on SNAP recipients who rely on the program for access to nutritious food;
- Weaken important environmental safeguards;
- Create new pesticide loopholes that endanger pollinators, wildlife, and our health;
- Prop up big agribusiness at the expense of family farmers.
Rather than compromising our health and planet, Congress should work across the aisle to find common ground. We have the opportunity to create an innovative, forward-thinking Farm Bill that builds a healthy, fair, and sustainable food system for all, from farm to fork.
There are many organizations working day in and out on the Farm Bill. The website www.betterfarmbill.org has collected terrific resources from several of these groups.