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Trip to Capitol Hill and the Future of the U.S. Farm Bill

Advocating for Urban Agriculture: My Trip to Capitol Hill and the Future of the U.S. Farm Bill

I recently had the incredible opportunity to travel to Washington, D.C., to advocate for crucial elements of the U.S. Farm Bill on Capitol Hill. This experience allowed me to highlight the significant impact that programs like the Inflation Reduction Act, EQIP, and SNAP have on urban agriculture and food security, especially in low-income areas and food deserts.

Why I Went to D.C.

As the Director of Heart & Soil and Urban Farms at St. Vincent de Paul, and leader of the BaeHive Beekeeping program, I see firsthand the transformative power of urban agriculture. My goal was to ensure that legislators understand the importance of supporting agriculture-based education programs, land access, and innovative production methods. These programs are vital for empowering urban growers who provide direct services to their communities.

Key Discussions and Updates

During my visit, I emphasized the need for:

Sustained Funding for SNAP Benefits: SNAP is crucial for ensuring that families in urban areas have access to fresh, nutritious food.
Support for the Inflation Reduction Act and EQIP: These initiatives help implement climate-smart practices, enhance resource efficiency, and improve crop resilience.
Investment in the Office of Urban Agriculture: Prioritizing funding for this office is essential for supporting urban growers and combating food apartheid.

Building Lasting Connections

One of the most rewarding aspects of the trip was meeting other urban farmers from across the country. We shared our experiences and ideas, building connections that will strengthen our collective efforts and last a lifetime. I am grateful to Earthjustice for bringing us together and providing this invaluable opportunity to advocate for our communities.

Recent Developments in the Farm Bill

The House and Senate have been actively working on the 2024 Farm Bill. Recently, Chairman Glenn "GT" Thompson provided a detailed overview of the bill, and Chairwoman Debbie Stabenow introduced the Rural Prosperity and Food Security Act. These efforts are aimed at maintaining the farm safety net and integrating significant climate-smart conservation practices into the Farm Bill. Additionally, a bipartisan extension has been enacted to ensure continued support for essential programs while negotiations for the full five-year Farm Bill continue.

How You Can Help

Your voice and actions can make a difference in shaping the future of urban agriculture. Here are some ways you can support these efforts:

  • Stay Informed: Keep up with the latest updates on the Farm Bill and understand its implications for our communities.
  • Speak Up: Reach out to your local representatives and express your support for urban agriculture initiatives and SNAP benefits.
  • Get Involved: Volunteer with local urban farms and community gardens to support their efforts in providing fresh produce and education.

Together, we can advocate for policies that promote sustainability, food security, and community resilience. Thank you for your continued support in making our communities greener and healthier.

For more information or to get involved, please contact us at abcmecllc@gmail.com or by phone at 480-721-1141

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