Letter: Contact Congress about the Farm Bill
By Alan Baragona on May 31, 2013
Thursday night, May 30, my wife and I saw the documentary “A Place at the Table” about the problem of hunger in America. The screening at the Visulite Cinema was sponsored by the Virginia Interfaith Center and Bread for the World, another faith-based consortium.
Everybody should be aware of this film. It is especially timely as Congress is considering a new Farm Bill, in which a very small increase in funding for child nutrition will be funded by drastic cuts in the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP, formerly food stamps), while continuing massive subsidies for agribusinesses.
Please write our Virginia Senators Tim Kaine and Mark Warner and especially Rep. Bob Goodlatte, who is on the Agriculture Committee, and urge them to reform the Farm Bill to give real help to small farmers who need it, reward farms of all sizes for growing fruits and vegetables to make them more affordable, and especially not to balance the costs of a program for the needy by cutting another program for the needy but instead reform the corporate welfare that current farm policy has become.
While you’re at it, you might ask them to follow the example of Rep. James McGovern, D-Mass., and others who tried to live on a SNAP budget for a week and saw how difficult it was to do at all and how impossible it was to do it in a healthy way. And demand that they explain why they won’t do it, if they refuse.
For more information, go to the web sites for both organizations and for the film.