food


Photo: National Archives and Records Administration/

A Look Back at Dr. King’s Demands for Food Justice

, Food Systems & Health Analyst

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 >

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The 2018 Farm Bill Is Now Law. But the Shenanigans Continue…

, director, Food & Environment Program

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.

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Photo: US Department of Agriculture

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

, Food Systems & Health Analyst

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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From Academia to Advocacy and Back: The Importance of Translating Research into Policy

, food systems & health analyst

Sadly, this will be my last post as an analyst for the Union of Concerned Scientists (UCS).  I came to UCS in Washington, DC immediately after obtaining my PhD in 2014. Two years later, I’m coming full circle, returning to the world of academia—with a new understanding and appreciation for how my research can have an impact in the policy world.

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Beef and the Paris Agreement: Changing What We Eat to Stop Causing Climate Change

, scientific adviser, Climate and Energy

On Earth Day two weeks ago, 171 countries officially signed the Paris Agreement on climate change. In doing so, they agreed to the long term goal of ending humanity’s damage to the climate—that is, reducing our emissions of global warming pollution to zero—in the second half of this century. One encouraging part of the ongoing scientific discussion about how to achieve this ambitious goal, is that we’re finally starting to take seriously the impact of what people eat. Three recent studies show that it makes a big difference, to the climate as well as to our health.

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