2018 Farm Bill: WhyHunger Statement from Noreen Springstead, Executive Director

Let’s cut to the chase.  The social contract between our government and its people is hanging on by a thread. If the recent draft Farm Bill presented in the House of Representatives, which would dramatically increase food insecurity, harm working families and slash support for small scale and organic farmers, is any indication of the strength of that last thread – we are in trouble. This bill is not good social policy nor is it in line with the values we espouse as Americans.

Far too many Americans experience poverty and hunger in their lifetime. This bill not only misses the mark on an opportunity to reverse those trends, it actually actively makes thing worse on low-income Americans, those looking for work and small scale farmers. We know SNAP works – it helps families access nutritious food and stimulates the local economy. Yet the bill calls for a program overhaul and adds additional work requirements that will not actually help people secure living wage jobs, but will add even more barriers to food access.

Our frontline food access partners across the country are warning that they can barely keep up with the growing needs of low-income people, seniors, children and working families that have been rising in recent years.   How are we expecting them to pick up the slack from cuts to SNAP and other programs? Doesn’t our government have an obligation to protect its people and ensure their basic human rights and dignity?

Poverty destroys communities, creates tremendous stress on families who are already working multiple low-wage jobs, and squashes our potential as a country to build a prosperous nation that engages all citizens.  It makes no economic sense to create policy that blatantly dismiss the poor and working class Americans and disregards our farmers working to grow food in harmony with the earth. And moreover, a policy that violates our human right to nutritious food is unconscionable. We must demand more from our government.

This is just the beginning of the Farm Bill debate in what is sure to be a lengthy and drawn out process filled with political jockeying and rhetoric. We must not forget the real people and communities who stand to lose the most as the social contract continues to fray. WhyHunger will join with our grassroots partners and national allies to keep you informed and raise our collective voice to fight for a just Farm Bill that gets serious about ending hunger and poverty in our nation and invests in real solutions that prioritize all people.

Noreen Springstead