Farm Aid is proud to be one of more than 150 organizations representing a range of sectors and sharing an interest in a stronger, more equitable farm and food system. These organizations have joined together to enlist President Biden as an ally and call on him to demand that the upcoming 2023 Farm Bill reflects his strong values.
In a letter to the president you can read below, the signers ask President Biden to weigh in on the next Farm Bill and demand that Congress build even further on the administration’s actions to date to reduce economic inequality; bridge the nation’s racial divides; end hunger; confront the climate crisis; improve nutrition and food safety; and protect and support farmers, workers, and communities.
Now is the time for meaningful and action-oriented change in our farm and food system through the passage of a transformative Farm Bill that we can all be proud of.
A Farm Bill is passed only every five years, and its impacts are far-reaching, from farm country to all of us who eat. The COVID pandemic of the past few years showed us how fragile our industrial food system is and how essential local and regional food systems are. It also made clear to us all how important it is to ensure the safety and well-being of our food workers.
During the same time, the U.S. experienced a reckoning about the need for racial justice and equity and we began to truly recognize the racial disparities in our farm and food systems. The pandemic, and our more recent economic downturn, continue to drive home the centrality of access to healthy and nutritious food—far too many people in America go hungry.
Finally, as the impacts of climate change become more tangible and dangerous, we know we must shore up the resiliency of our farm and food systems and make investments in climate resilient agriculture. With strong support, family farmers can help us lessen the impact of climate change. Now is the time for meaningful and action-oriented change in our farm and food system through the passage of a transformative Farm Bill that we can all be proud of.
The letter outlines seven crucial values that the 2023 Farm Bill needs to address and reflects the legislation’s wide-reaching impact. Specifically, advocates, including Farm Aid, call for the next Farm Bill to:
- Center Racial Justice – The next Farm Bill must be a racial justice bill. Equity and justice must be at the center of every facet of the next Farm Bill if we hope to repair historical and ongoing discrimination against farmers and communities of color, Tribal Nations, and food and farm workers and eliminate inequities throughout the food and farm economy.
- End Hunger – The next Farm Bill must protect and strengthen food assistance programs to ensure sufficient resources and access to a nutritious diet for all people who struggle against hunger and food insecurity as a result of wealth and income inequities often driven by systemic racism.
- Meet the Climate Crisis Head On – The next Farm Bill must be a climate bill. It must invest in research, technical assistance and financial incentives to enable farmers and ranchers to reduce emissions and to implement farming practices and labor policies that make their farms and workers better able to withstand extreme weather.
- Increase Access to Healthy Food – The next Farm Bill must tackle the nutrition crisis by improving nutrition security, which the Biden administration has defined as “consistent and equitable access to healthy, safe, affordable foods essential to optimal health and well-being,” for all.
- Ensure Safety and Dignity for Food and Farm Workers – The next Farm Bill must invest substantially in the people who plant, harvest, process, transport, sell and serve our food, ensuring safety and a living wage, along with access to health care, clean housing, and the right to organize and join a union.
- Protect Farmers and Consumers – The next Farm Bill must build on administration efforts to promote competition in the food and agriculture sectors.
- Ensure the Safety of Our Food Supply – The Farm Bill must do more to address pathogens that originate on factory farms and to make the U.S. food supply safe for everyone.
This is an ambitious goal, but we have a can’t-miss opportunity in this next Farm Bill. Americans cannot wait another half-decade to secure transformative change in our farm and food system. The policies and federal resources in this bill will shape our nation’s health, environment, economy, rural communities, workforce, and how equitable our approaches are to each sector. That’s why we have to get it right with this upcoming Farm Bill.
Read the full letter below and stay tuned for updates and opportunities to join us in our calls for a transformative Farm Bill!