Last week, we began telling you about celebrity chef, Mario Batali’s “Food Stamp Challenge” initiative. For one week, the acclaimed chef challenged Americans (and his own family) to “walk in someone else’s shoes” by eating only what they would be able to buy with food stamps. Batali, the star of ABC’s “The Chew,” partnered with the New York City Food Bank to raise awareness about potential cuts to the food stamp program, which helps feed millions of Americans. The food stamp guidelines amount to $31 per person, per week, or $1.48 per meal! Instead of filling up on fresh, organic vegetables, he’s been feeding his family more beans and starches like egg and bean tacos and lentils and rice.
What this initiative brings home to us is the need for families of all income levels to educate themselves on wellness and nutrition—as well as eating and cooking options—especially at a lower income level. Mario Batali may be giving up his $4 lattes from a specialty coffee house, but most families struggle with larger and more fundamental issues, like what to make for dinner that will be healthy, and not break the bank.
What the passing of the Farm Bill could mean to you…
Every five years, Congress passes a bundle of legislation, commonly called the "Farm Bill" that sets national agriculture, nutrition, conservation, and forestry policy. The last Farm Bill was passed in 2008, and expired in 2012. On April 26th, the Senate Committee voted and passed the Bill by a vote of 16-5.
There was a $125 million commitment to bringing healthy food and jobs to underserved areas, which was a victory for national healthy food advocates, and particularly for low-income people and communities of color typically hit first and worst. It will also help to revitalize communities by bringing in new, vibrant, healthy food retail and by creating and preserving quality jobs for local residents. For the first time ever, the bill will officially establish a national Healthy Food Financing Initiative (HFFI) at the US Department of Agriculture.