Sarah Reinhardt

Food Systems & Health Analyst

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Sarah Reinhardt is the food systems and health analyst for the Food & Environment program at the Union of Concerned Scientists. In her role, she applies her academic expertise in nutrition and her practical experience in equitable and sustainable food systems to support increased consumer access to healthy foods, and the development of a comprehensive national food policy.See Sarah's full bio.

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Photo: US Department of Agriculture

Why Republican Farm Bill Negotiators Should Think Twice About Attacks on SNAP

This September, after Congress returns from its August recess, we can expect to see the first public meeting of the farm bill conference committee.

The committee—currently composed of a healthy 47 appointees (or “conferees”) from the House and nine from the Senate—will have the difficult task of reconciling two vastly different versions of the bill. The House bill received sharp criticism for its proposed changes to the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), including extreme and unjustified work requirements that would reduce or eliminate benefits for millions of people. The Senate, by contrast, passed a bipartisan bill that left the structure of SNAP largely intact and made additional investments in healthy and sustainable food systems.

Based on what we’ve seen so far, it wouldn’t surprise us if House Republican conferees continue to push for changes that will make it harder for people to access SNAP. But based on the data, this strategy seems pretty misguided.

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Photo: Michael Vadon/CC BY SA 4.0

Trump Administration Declares Poverty is Over, We Can All Go Home Now

Picture it: The loading dock of the city’s largest food bank is shrouded in silence. Pallets of food are stacked inside, draped with cobwebs, waiting for volunteers who will never come to unload them. The food bank is now a relic of a bygone era—when people befallen by any number of ills needed help feeding their families. From a window above, a boy’s face appears. “Haven’t you heard?” he shouts. “Poverty is over!”

Okay, okay—I know this is absurd. But does the Trump administration?

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Photo: Samuel Zeller/Unsplash
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Across the United States, Local Food Investments Link Harvest to Health

Earlier this month, we took a deep, data-driven dive into the state of food and farming across the US with the release of our 50-State Food System Scorecard. Although the country as a whole isn’t exactly the poster child for healthy and sustainable food systems (far from it), there’s a lot of variability in what’s happening at farms, grocery stores, and dinner tables from one state to the next—and we’re here to learn from it.

Of course, we couldn’t assess the food system without taking a good, hard look at how it impacts its end users: us. Read more >

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What the Failed House Farm Bill Got Wrong About SNAP and Work

The House of Representatives voted down a farm bill last Friday. It was a bill that lived and died by its insistence on subjecting participants in the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP, or food stamps) to a slew of unnecessary and misguided work requirements. Had it passed and been signed into law, the bill would have effectively reduced or eliminated benefits for millions of people. And though it promised to channel the resulting “savings” into state-administered job training programs, this proposal, too, was deeply flawed and betrayed serious misperceptions about the populations that participate in SNAP. Read more >

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SNAP is a boon to urban and rural economies—and small-town stores may not survive cuts

In case you missed it, Congress is in the midst of a pretty major food fight. At the center of it is the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), which is the first line of defense against hunger for more than 21 million American households. Going forward, however, an estimated 2 million people stand to lose SNAP benefits if the farm bill proposal passed by the House Agriculture Committee last month becomes law. The bill’s draconian work requirements and eligibility changes threaten to upend the lives of some of the nation’s most vulnerable individuals and families. But it could also deliver a serious blow to the economic vitality of many rural and small-town communities, in an economic domino effect that often starts at the local grocery store.

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