7 August 2023
Do you know about the Farm Bill? It’s a package of legislation passed every five years that impacts everyone who eats. It's up for renewal next month, but before you roll your eyes and look away from a Congress that seems incapable of agreeing on anything, think about what's at stake.
This next Farm Bill could be the first trillion dollar one in history! Roughly three quarters of that goes to nutrition assistance (SNAP) and most of the remaining funds support farms in some way (what types of farms and in which way are another story).
The 2023 Farm Bill is expected to cost
$1,510,000.000,000 (that's 1.5 trillion!!!)
On size alone, it’s clear the Farm Bill has tremendous potential to shape our food system, impacting both human and planetary health in the process.
That’s why I’m so excited about a new bill introduced by Massachusetts Congressman Jim McGovern. The (for Peas, Legumes, and Nuts Today) establishes new opportunities for farmers and food companies, connects American farmers to new markets at home and abroad, and expands consumer choices at the grocery store, through plant-based food research and production.
Our current system is no longer helping us. Dairy farmers are in a country where . Corporate consolidation means that higher prices at the supermarket don't reach the farmers who produce the food. Large monocrop farms and Concentrated Animal Feeding Operations (CAFOs) are degrading our soil and polluting the air and water.
It’s not only an ethical and environmental issue; it just makes economic sense. Data shows that every dollar invested in public agriculture research and development generates $20 for the US economy, yet we spend less on this every year, leaving our research to large corporations with a lot of money to spend (and protect). And SNAP benefits have a double benefit of increasing economic activity in the community where they are redeemed and decreasing publicly funded healthcare costs (Medicaid).
I’m thrilled that someone has finally noticed (and promoted) that the US needs to be moving in a plant forward direction if we want to maintain our status as a leader in farming and food production. Congressman McGovern boldly stated, “The PLANT Act will help us win the future of food.” I sure hope he is right!