You’ve likely heard the news on Friday that the House Farm Bill was voted down; a casualty of the heated immigration debate. Regardless of the proximal reasons the bill failed, this was a very good thing. As I discussed in my blog last month, the House Farm Bill was very bad news for issues we care deeply about, SNAP/Food Access, Conservation, and education programs for sustainable/regenerative farmers. The Senate has yet to release their draft Farm Bill, but insiders have reported that it is a more favorable bill for the Good Food Movement.
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Last week I got to make my National Public Radio debut, as a guest on WILL's show The 21st with Niala Boodhoo, along with Catherine Dunlop (manager of the Downtown Bloomington Farmers Market) and Natalie Moore (WBEZ Chicago’s South Side bureau reporter). And of course, ever since the interview, I keep thinking of additional points I could have made, so I'll make some of them here.
To continue with my occasional nautical theme, but slightly backwards, I need to wish all of you Bon Voyage. Now that I have passed the wheel into the capable hands of our new Captain, Jacquelyn, I will now disembark the ship called The Land Connection and follow the ship that is my husband to a new adventure in a different state.
On April 12, House Agriculture Committee Chairman Mike Conaway (R-TX) introduced his draft 2018 Farm Bill. Representative Conaway's bill is a blow to local foods and small farmers. It guts funding for critical grant programs that directly support small, local foods producers such as the Value Added Producer Grant, the Farmers Market and Local Food Promotion Program, and the National Organic Certification Cost Share Program.
One of the critical debates at the center of the new Farm Bill is the future of the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP). The Farm Bill has typically enjoyed bipartisan support, however the current negotiation has been halted over proposed rules that would tighten work requirements for beneficiaries, a reform that could cut off as many as 1 million recipients. SNAP accounts for around 80% of the Farm Bill budget.
In my opinion, there is nothing that smells better than laundry (washed in free & clear detergent) taken straight off of a sunny clothesline. Somehow the combination of sun and wind creates a perfect natural fragrance that will never be duplicated by the laundry products industry.
Happy post-St. Patrick’s Day everyone! As a proud Irish-American (I have my family crest tattooed on my back) I just want to take some time to point out some misconceptions about Ireland and St. Patrick’s Day.