What is the Farm Bill?
The Farm Bill is the 700-page, $289 billion federal legislation that sets the rules and appropriations for the U.S. food system. While originally created as an emergency funding program for farmers during the Great Depression the bill now determines funding for a wide range of programs including agricultural research, food assistance, conservation, energy, trade, rural development, and farm support.
In many ways, the bill sets the foundation for what we eat, the cost of our food, who can farm, how they can farm, and what they can grow. It also affects public & environmental health, global poverty, immigration, and fossil fuel dependency.
I have to admit, I always thought the Farm Bill was a combination of programs and subsidies for commodity and small farmers that primarily underwrite factory farming and subsidize high-fructose corn syrup. It was surprising to learn that the majority of funding is actually appropriated to nutrition programs like food stamps and school lunches.
Over the coming weeks I will be exploring a variation of Adriana Velez’s idea to create a Tumblr site, What Does the Farm Bill Have To Do With Me. As she suggested, I will be writing about how it affects people’s everyday lives. You are all invited to join me! If you have ideas, stories, posts, insights, visualizations, etc.. I would be thrilled to post them. You are also invited to post links & ideas on our Facebook page.
A little food for thought:
National Sustainable Agriculture Coalition
Food Fight: A Citizen’s Guide to the Farm Bill Citizen’s Guide To Understanding the Farm Bill