Organizations like the Food Trust and Food Fit Philly have been leading the way for a better food system in Philadelphia. The Common Market, Farm to City and Weavers Way Coop have brought the crops of local farmers from Lancaster and urban farms to the marketplace. State Representative Dwight Evans has laid the foundation for access to healthy food in Pennsylvania and across the nation. Volunteers, teachers and non-profit employees have been working hard to educate children about healthy eating and farming in our city’s roughest neighborhoods. The Greater PhiladelphiaCoalition Against Hunger has been connecting low-income families with government assistance to help pay for groceries. Great strides have been made in our city but the work is not done. Here’s what we can do to contribute to this movement:
Organize and educate your neighbors. Host or join meetings at local coffee shops, churches, and community centers about fair food policy. Be prepared to answer questions about the economical impacts that new food policy will entail. The food industry has the ability to spend millions of dollars on campaigns against policies in favor of health, transparency, consumer empowerment and food safety.
Support local the economy. When possible, vote with your fork AND your dollars. Shop at local farmers markets, locally owned grocery stores, and local food businesses like Uptown Soul Food when possible to help fuel more money into the local food system.
Call, write and visit your congressman/woman’s office and tell them you want a new farm bill. 31% of Philadelphians are recipients of SNAP benefits. Did you know that SNAP funding is a part of the Farm Bill? Ever wonder why fruits and vegetables cost so much at your local grocer? It’s because many farms subsidies are given to industrial farm operations that produce crops that are used for animal feed instead of food for humans. Let’s level out the playing field with subsidies for meat, dairy, grain, fruit and vegetable farmers to reduce healthy food costs in our communities. Without a new, improved farm bill, family farmers, consumers and low-income Americans will be affected most.
Support politicians who support good food policy. Policy makers at the local,state and national level must favor food policy that protect the interests of their constituents. When possible, donate and volunteer for campaigns that support good food policy.