P A N U P S
Pesticide Action Network
August 7, 1995
U.S. Coalition Supports Community Food Security Act
In developing and industrial nations alike, citizen movements
are approaching hunger, agricultural policy, economic growth
and sustainable development as interconnected issues, and
presenting integrated local and national strategies to
address interrelated problems in each of these areas.
In the U.S., for example, the "Community Food Security Act"
(HR 2003), a bill recently introduced in the House of
Representatives, would provide up to $2.5 million each year
for the next five years to projects that address U.S. food,
farm and nutrition problems. The bill, supported by the
Community Food Security Coalition, a network of sustainable
agriculture, anti-hunger, environmental, community
development and other food and agriculture related
organizations, is a response to federal policies which the
Coalition believes are too narrow and fragmented.
The Community Food Security Coalition grew out of an August
1994 conference of activists interested in improving U.S.
food and agriculture policy. The group believes that everyone
has the right to basic food security, which it defines as
"all persons obtaining at all times a culturally acceptable,
nutritionally adequate diet through local non-emergency
sources," and emphasizes solutions that involve local
cooperation among community-members, government and private
According to the Coalition, current federal policies are
inadequate for the range of problems that the existing U.S.
food system confronts, including hunger and poor nutrition
among rural and urban poor, loss of full service supermarkets
from inner city areas, a declining number of farms
nationwide, and an insufficient supply of emergency food
despite burgeoning demands.
The Coalition advocates programs that meet the food needs of
low-income people and increase the self-reliance of
communities in providing for their own food needs. The new
bill would provide short-term financial assistance to
organizations and projects that link sectors of the food
system; develop entrepreneurial solutions to local food
problems; form relationships between the for-profit and
nonprofit food sectors; and encourage long-term planning and
The existing Women, Infants and Children Farmers' Market
Nutrition Program (WIC/FMCP) is an example of the type of
multiple-benefit project often associated with community food
security goals. The WIC/FMCP provides low income women and
children with special food stamps that can be exchanged for
locally grown, fresh produce at designated farmers' markets.
The Coalition endorses this program as a successful
grassroots tool for nutrition education and local
agricultural and economic development.
Other approaches to achieving food security advocated by the
--Adoption of community food security as a central mission
for U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), to be accomplished
by creating a USDA Community Food Security Program. This
program would coordinate food-security related programs
within USDA and provide information and technical assistance
to, and facilitate linkages among, governmental and non-
governmental food security related programs.
--Redirection and augmentation of farmland preservation and
urban gardening programs. This includes changing the
Cooperative Extension Service's Urban Gardening Program to
the Urban Agriculture Program, which would fund nonprofit and
public efforts at developing community gardens, farms
operated by and for food banks, community supported
agriculture projects that link urban residents with nearby
food production, and related food production projects.
Further, the Coalition recommends the addition of a
"strategic farmland" category to the Farmland Protection
Policy Act, which could protect farmland providing crops
important for the integrity of local food systems and/or
located in or near urban areas.
Recommended action for U.S. residents: Contact your
Representatives and Senators no later than August 15, 1995
and tell them to support the "Community Food Security Act" in
the House, and similar legislation in the Senate. If your
Representative is Republican, the Coalition advises you to
mention that Representative Bill Emerson (R-MO) is a co-
sponsor to the bill.
Source: Community Food Security News, Summer 1995.
Contact: Andy Fisher, Community Food Security Coalition, P.O.
Box 209, Venice, CA 90294; phone/fax 310-822-5410; email
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