As if the Trump administration’s recent rollback of school lunch nutrition rules weren’t bad enough, the president’s ill-conceived, peevish partial government shutdown (now at 33 days and counting) is further endangering schools’ ability to provide healthy meals for the nation’s children. The US Department of Agriculture (USDA), which subsidizes school meal programs, has assured local school districts they would receive funding for those programs through March. But school administrators around the country are looking down the road and wondering whether they’ll have to dip into rainy day or emergency funds, cut afterschool programs, or raid money from summer programs to make ends meet if the shutdown continues beyond that. Read more >
Latest Food and Agriculture Posts
January 23, 2019 2:05 PM EDT
January 18, 2019 1:14 PM EDT
On April 29th of 1968, Reverend Ralph David Abernathy visited the US Department of Agriculture (USDA) to talk about food and farming. And with the list of demands he carried, the Reverend brought with him the voice of the late Dr. King, assassinated just one month prior, and of many thousands of others—including farmers who were denied land, families who were denied food, and people who were denied dignity. So what, exactly, did he ask of the Secretary of Agriculture? And fifty years later—are we still asking for the same things? Read more >
January 14, 2019 4:28 PM EDT
With a partial government shutdown now in its 3rd week, many Americans are learning the hard way about the wide range of functions their federal government normally serves. One of those little-known functions is preventing the spread of invasive plants, insects, and other species that threaten native ecosystems and valuable natural resources, costing the United States an estimated $120 billion every year. Just last week, the shutdown forced conference organizers at the US Department of Agriculture (USDA) to cancel an annual meeting of 300 scientists working to coordinate research and find solutions. Even before the shutdown, however, USDA regulators had failed to fully live up to their obligations—designated by law—to protect US resources from invasive species.
January 8, 2019 1:30 PM EDT
When it comes to the US Department of Agriculture (USDA) and its handling of food and farming issues, Congressional oversight is sorely needed. As the new Congress gets underway, here are four ways its leaders should seek to make Secretary Perdue and his USDA more accountable to the public interest. Read more >
December 20, 2018 11:38 AM EDT
Today, President Trump signs the Agricultural Improvement Act of 2018 (the “farm bill”) into law. Over the past year, our allies and supporters called their elected officials, signed petitions, wrote letters to the editor and organized their communities—doing everything possible to impress upon Congress the importance of legislation that supports the nation’s farmers, and the food insecure, in an equitable and responsible way. It is time for a quick inventory of achievements and the work yet ahead, though there isn’t much time for us, or our supporters and allies, to catch our breath.