Advocacy

Advocacy

"Food Security is a situation that exists when all people, at all times, have physical, social and economic access to sufficient, safe, and nutritious food that meets their dietary needs and food preferences for an active and healthy life."  - 1996 World Food Summit (U.N.)

The Washington Food Coalition follows current events that may affect nutrition programs that our members utilize to serve their communities. We also pay close attention to the many related programs that serve the families we serve every day. Many of these programs work in tandem with our efforts to support people through a hard time and hopefully into a better place. 

For more information about nutrition programs, our legislative agenda, and the latest happenings and actions you can take, check out our latest updates, what we are watching, and follow us on Facebook or twitter.

See more on our Advocacy Page

Quick Links:

2018 State Legislative Agenda

What we are Watching at the Federal Level

 

 

What We Are Watching: Federal Advocacy

2018 Farm Bill:
The Farm Bill is a huge complex piece of legislation that is reauthorized and passed approximately every 5 years. This bill brings together farm industry interests, conservation interests, human services interests, and really nearly any stakeholder that has an interest in our food system.
The Farm Bill expires September 30, 2018. This is legislation that needs to be reauthorized every 5 years. It is a very complex piece of legislation that brings together many interests and stakeholders working within our food system.

The Farm Bill is organized into 12 Titles or sections.
We as anti-hunger advocates tend to be most interested in the Nutrition Title (Title IV). This is the section of the Farm Bill that governs programs that Americans rely on to feed their families through tough times. 
This year, in 2018, we are All Hands on Deck to fight any cuts or structural changes to SNAP (the federal food stamp program).

The House passed a Farm Bill proposal on June 21st with a 213-211 vote that includes draconian provisions in regards to the SNAP program. This bill by all analyses would result in cuts to SNAP largely through reducing enrollment through harsh work requirements and time limits if unable to meet those requirements.
The Senate passed a Farm Bill proposal based on bi-partisan negotiations on June 28th, with an 86-11 vote. This bill did not include the cuts to benefits and eligibility that are contained in the House bill.
For some resources on the value of SNAP to people that need it, to our local economies and our communities, see these resources from our partners at FRAC:
Governor Inslee released this letter to our Washington State Congressional Delegation regarding H.R. 2 voicing concerns and opposition to the current bill in the House. To read the full letter, click here.
And here is an Op-Ed from our former Board Chair Helen McGovern-Pilant from EFN: Click here to read the full article in The News Tribune.
Some additional great articles from our partners are here:

What you can Do:
Contact your Congressional Representatives...they need to hear from YOU, their constituents, about your priorities and concerns. 

What we would like to see: a real effort to strengthen SNAP by increasing the benefit rate based on the "low cost" food plan as opposed to the "thrifty" food plan as described by USDA, among other things. This would increase the ability of food stamp recipients to purchase healthier food. A great example of what strengthening SNAP and its positive impacts could look like is contained in HR1276 Closing the Meal Gap Act, a marker bill that you can urge (or thank) your lawmakers for signing in support of.
At this point, we want to see adoption of a Farm Bill as passed in the Senate with provisions that protect and strengthen SNAP.
 

What We Are Watching: 2018 State Legislative Session  

Expand Access to School Breakfast for Hungry Kids:

Hungry kids face extra and unnecessary struggles in school - yet feeding kids a healthy school breakfast can have a dramatic impact on their academic, health and economic futures.
Our schools are offering breakfast - but they are not reaching the kids who need it most: WA ranks 45th among states in serving breakfast to low income students.
We know how to fix it: when breakfast is part of the school day - just like lunch - more kids start their day with the fuel they need. Requiring very high poverty schools (70% or more low income students) to change their breakfast service time will help tens of thousands of students at nearly 400 schools. And clarifying instructional time for breakfast means any school can choose to serve breakfast after the bell.

 

Make Our Kids and Communities Healthier by Strengthening Washington's Farms:

Connecting farmers to local schools and other local buyers makes Washington's kids and communities healthier and makes Washington's farms more successful.
WSDA (Washington State Department of Agriculture) created its nationally recognized Farm to School Program (working in tandem with the Small Farms Direct Marketing Program) to provide a valuable resource for our agriculture sector, while also improving school meal quality for students. Restoring $250,000 to WSDA's programs will allow WSDA to meet increasing demand from farmers for the program's expertise and support in expanding farm businesses to new markets, especially schools.

 

Equip School Kitchens to Improve Nutrition for Kids:

School nutrition staff are often unable to prepare and serve healthier food because schools do not have needed equipment for cooking/preparing food from scratch.
Apple A Day kitchen equipment grants support school efforts to cook healthier meals for kids. Maintaining $1 million in the capital budget allows schools to prepare fresh, healthy food for students and sustains a smart investment in our schools and in our children's nutrition.

Additional Anti-Poverty issues we are keeping an eye on:

Fix Our Tax System to Create a Healthy, Prosperous, Hunger-free Washington:

We continue to have the most regressive tax system in the country, which means low income people wind up paying the highest share of their income in state taxes through the sales tax and property tax as passed on by landlords into higher rents. Closing outdated tax loopholes, increasing transparency in tax breaks, and finding new and sustainable sources of revenue are all strategies needed to respond to our growing population and to invest in the basics - food, housing, schools, and health care - that benefit all Washingtonians, especially those who need it most.

 

Strengthen TANF program for Low Income Families with Children:

Temporary Aid to Needy Families (TANF) provides cash assistance and an array of work support services to low income families with children designed to promote family economic stability. There are three key strategies that are being advocated for to strengthen our state's TANF program:
  • Restore the TANF grant cuts so that low income families have more money to meet basic needs.
  • Raise the limits on vehicles and assets so that families can benefit from TANF with resources to help them after TANF ends.
  • Reduce barriers for pregnant and parenting teens to TANF can help end intergenerational poverty.

 

Protect Access to Affordable Housing for Low Income People:

Food insecurity and housing insecurity are tightly linked. One way to fight hunger is to ensure people have adequate, affordable housing. These are some of the key priorities this year in housing and homeless prevention:
  • Pass a capital budget: Protect and expand funds for programs that meet diverse housing needs.
  • Strengthen homelessness funding: Eliminate the sunset date and increase the amount for document recording fees - the largest source of funding for homelessness services. Now is the time for more reliable resources to address the housing crisis facing every county in WA.
  • Ban source of income discrimination: Prevent landlords from excluding renters with Social Security income, disability income, Housing Choice (section 8) vouchers, veteran's housing subsidies, etc. This discrimination has a significant impact on populations who rely on housing subsidies to make ends meet - they are the same people at highest risk for hunger.

 

Improve Access to Jobs with the Fair Chance Act:

 " Ban the Box" that asks about convictions in the very first step of applying for a job, so a person can be assessed on their qualifications and skills first. This policy boosts employment and reduces recidivism, saving the state money in both prisons and social services.

Our Ongoing Commitment:

Protect Investments in Nutrition, Health, and Economic Stability for People in Need:

Our state has created innovative programs and proactive policies that help fight hunger and poverty in our communities. As lawmakers act to improve education, mental health services and more, it is critical to protect funding for basic needs services such as Emergency Food Assistance Program, State Food Assistance, Farmers Market Nutrition Programs, affordable housing, HENS/ABD and other programs for low-income people so these programs remain effective in fighting hunger and poverty. 

   

 

What We Are Watching in the 2017 Legislative Session

Currently we are in the midst of Washington State's legislative session that will set a budget and priorities for the 2017-2019 biennium.

Legislative priorities for us this year have been developed in partnership with the Anti-Hunger and Nutrition Coalition.

Read more...
 


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