Advocating on the Hill for Food Access Programs
Recently, our Senior Director of Client Services & Outcomes Tracking, Aleta McLean, joined me and other nutrition leaders in Washington D.C. for the national Food Is Medicine Coalition’s “Day on the Hill.” We wanted to add our voices, along with our colleagues from around the country, to help legislators on both sides of the aisle understand why the Farm Bill needs to be protected and expanded.
Open Hand and our Food Is Medicine Coalition partners are guided by an unwavering belief that access to good nutrition and public health are interwoven elements of a complex system that magnify racial and socioeconomic healthcare inequities.
The Farm Bill is the primary bill in congress to address glaring inequities and ensure that seniors, working families, and food insecure households have access to nutritious and healthy food options.
Regretfully, the Farm Bill does not fund the work that goes into tailoring food to meet the clinical needs of sick Americans enrolled in Farm Bill programs. In our meetings with legislators across the country, we have been asking congress to update the Farm Bill to meet 21st century challenges and implement policies that encourage access to medically tailored nutrition. The 2023 Farm Bill presents an important opportunity to expand and diversify nutrition supports in a manner that improves the nation’s health outcomes and financial interests. Our specific ask of legislators and other policy makers are as follows:
- Boost access to the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP).
- Scale investments that provide access to fresh fruits and vegetables through GusNIP, an important nutrition incentive program.
- Enhance consumer awareness about nutritious and healthy foods through SNAP-ED.
- Provide Medically Tailored Meals to Americans directly in their homes & communities.
Educating policy makers and helping to protect and increase federal funding streams that benefit our clients is an important priority for Open Hand. We recognize that many of our clients depend upon Open Hand for their life sustaining nutrition and we must do everything possible to protect federal funding streams.
– Matthew Pieper, Executive Director