We, the people…and the Farm Bill.

Growing up in Massachusetts means a special kind of connection to the Fourth of July. Along with Thanksgiving, the Fourth of July is one of two holidays all Americans can claim as our own. Both were born in Massachusetts: Thanksgiving in Plymouth around a communal dining table and the American Revolution, which started with the [...]

Farm Bill defeated in House; traditional rural-urban alliance frayed

The old rural-urban alliance that married farm and nutrition programs failed to get a Farm Bill through the House this afternoon. The bill lost 195-234, with food stamps apparently the main issue. The House seemed ready to pass the bill this afternoon “after the Agriculture Committee leadership agreed to a sweeping en bloc amendment Wednesday [...]

Farm bill update: good news first

There’s good news and there’s bad news out of the U.S. House of Representatves Committee on Agriculture. The Federal Agriculture Reform and Risk Management Act (FARRM) passed by a bipartisan 35-11 vote. The committee rejected amendments to alter the no-cost sugar program and also voted not to remove the Dairy Market Stabilization Program (DMSP) from [...]

Farm Bill Follies 2012?

The U.S. Senate passed its version of the farm bill. Up next, the U.S. House of Representatives.  Word from Ag Chair Frank Lucas, R-Okla., is that mark-up of the bill is expected to begin on July 11 with high hopes that the bill will go to the full House before August recess. The biggest stumbling [...]

Just In: USDA Farm to School grant applications available

USDA request for applications (RFA) are now available for the new Farm to School grant program. The Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act of 2010 is in its first funding cycle for grants planning or implementing new or expanded Farm to School programs. USDA expects to award up to $3.5 million to support access to local foods [...]

I had to chuckle when Sunday’s White House pool reporter sent out the menu for President Obama’s White House Super Bowl party.  It looks like the First Lady’s primo nightmare, a veritable cholesterol festival. This should not be construed as criticism.  Nobody should be so rigid about diet that there can’t be any special days, [...]

Prescriptions for Produce in Massachusetts

By Miryam Ehrlich Williamson Doctors at three Massachusetts medical centers are writing “prescriptions” for free fruits and vegetables at local farmers markets. Clinicians look for families of overweight and obese children enrolled in the centers’ exercise and nutrition program that can’t afford and lack access to fresh produce. Whole families are enrolled; the main requirement [...]

Fresh Produce for Food Stamps: Good News/Bad News

By Miryam Ehrlich Williamson Good news first: A federal program intended to boost sales of fresh fruits and vegetables will target low-income families in Hampden County, Massachusetts, in the state’s southwestern corner. Several thousand of the region’s 50,000 food stamp recipients will get a 30% discount off the price of fresh produce that they buy [...]

Stalking the Couch Potato, Part 4

By Miryam Ehrlich Williamson Here you have the fourth and final excerpt from the sample chapter Elliott Blass, my writing partner, and I sent along with our proposal for a book on childhood obesity. We’re changed our focus and this chapter will change accordingly.  But there’s information here that you may find useful in thinking [...]

Food for Thought

By Miryam Ehrlich Williamson Once upon a time, a long time ago, my family opened our rural home to a boy from the inner city. His father wasn’t around, and his mother got sick and couldn’t care for their six children. The state stepped in decided to place them in foster homes. A friend told [...]