CONGRESSWOMAN FUDGE INTRODUCES THE LET’S GROW ACT OF 2013
WASHINGTON, DC – Congresswoman Marcia L. Fudge (OH-11) today introduced the Let’s Grow Act of 2013 to support sustainable agriculture activities in American cities while improving access to healthy food for underserved communities. The legislation addresses the epidemic of hunger and the high rate of childhood obesity with expansion and modernization of proven programs such as The Emergency Food Assistance Program (TEFAP) and USDA Fresh Fruit and Vegetable Program.
“This bill encourages Americans to live healthier lives by focusing on locally grown, fresh foods. It provides incentives for non-traditional farming, which are especially important in urban areas including Cleveland, and gives agricultural entrepreneurs the support they need to grow and build successful enterprises,” said Congresswoman Fudge.
“We must do more to improve nutrition for a generation of children, many of whom are estimated to have shorter life expectancies than their parents due to poor health. This comprehensive legislation will allow low-income families and seniors access to healthier foods and improve their diets, relieving some of the stress on our current health care system. With thousands of acres of vacant property due to the foreclosure crisis as well as a recession that hit middle class families hard, this measure also strengthens the ability of cities to convert abandoned properties for agricultural uses and enhance economic recovery in distressed areas.”
The Let’s Grow Act of 2013 includes the following initiatives and provisions:
Promotes expansion of Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) benefits at farmers markets across the nation;
Assists local corner stores in offering fresher and more nutritious food options;
Lowers the rate of childhood obesity by creating the Farm-to-Preschool Program, an initiative that connects schools, farms and local communities with the objective of educating children about health and nutrition;
Eradicates hunger through the Weekends and Holidays Without Hunger program for children, and the modernization of The Emergency Food Assistance Program (TEFAP), which makes funding for TEFAP food more responsive to changes in need through the creation of a trigger that ties funding to the unemployment rate. This will increase support to food banks during an economic downturn.
Encourages training and job creation by establishing the Urban Agricultural Workforce Training Pilot Program, which provides grants to develop and implement urban agricultural workforce training programs.
Creates grants for eligible individuals and entities seeking to acquire abandoned or foreclosed properties in urban areas to convert them for agricultural uses.
Incentivizes urban farming through the creation of the Urban Entrepreneur and Microenterprise Assistance Program, which includes training and operation support for prospective and struggling urban farmers, as well as, a grant program to assist with the creation and sustainment of community gardens.
The legislation has the potential to expand annual food production in regions around metropolitan areas, expand state and local tax collections and increase the food security of hundreds of thousands of people, especially residents who live in food deserts.
Click here for a more comprehensive summary of the Let’s Grow Act.