The House Farm Bill passed. Now let’s look at the Senate bill.

The 2018 Farm Bill passes the House last Thursday by a very narrow margin. 213 yeas to 211 nays. If you’re interested in seeing if your rep was on the yea or nay side of this, go here: Final Vote on HR2, June 21,2018

This bill cut $19 billion from SNAP which equates to serving around 2 million low income, food insecure people. It imposes stricter work requirements that can’t be opted out by states.  Instead of giving working families a little relief when they finally get their heads above water, it imposes a strict benefits cliff that cuts off benefits to those who’s income rises even slightly above the income eligibility limit. People formerly incarcerated for certain crimes are banned for life from receiving SNAP.  It also adds a ton of paperwork and reporting that will not only be expensive for states to implement but just complicates the application process. There are already under served low income folks not applying for SNAP because of the process and a lot of caseworkers are less able to act like social workers because of the amount of clerical business involved.

The Senate has introduced it’s own version of the Farm Bill  that avoids all the mean stuff and instead expands the programs they know help and introducing pilot programs to improve healthy food access. It makes things easier for disabled and elderly people allowing them to certify for 3 year periods and tweaks the EBT system so it’s more reliable.

In short, this is a bill that recognizes that SNAP works and strengthens it instead of hurting low income families. This bill will probably be voted on this week so call your Senators and tell them to vote YES on the Farm Bill.  There is a form letter here you can submit or call direct using 888-398-8702 or their office number.

As always, if you’re someone who hates making calls & deals with some anxiety over it, it’s helpful to write yourself a little script of what your going to say. This is a great tip sheet for phone calling with anxiety: How to Call Your Reps When You Have Social Anxieties

[today’s post brought to you by my delicious dinner of chicken stir fry that SNAP helped to purchase the ingredients for]

Meal planning for this week

I’m trying to make sure we have rent by the end of the week so I was crossing my fingers to be able to do decent meal planning with what the food pantry offered yesterday. No such luck,honestly. Two cabbages and a bag of carrots were the only produce they had. I came away with lots of canned fruit, as much bread as I could take, ground turkey, hot dogs,turkey burger, rice, and some stale “spicy cheese flavored” taco shells. I’m sure I’ll manage some hellacious acts of pantry anarchy with some of it but it’s still disappointing. I think rent will be a little late. We need some grocery basics and gas for the car.
Yeah, that plan of mine to keep money in savings for groceries has not gone well.

On a more uplifting note, there’s a cute little garden happening behind the community center the food pantry is held at. I see rhubarb, oregano, some other herbs.
I have no idea who manages this garden or what it’s used for. My understanding is that once upon a time there was a large garden that served the food pantry but it was at someone’s house and that person has since sold the house and moved out of the area. If I felt like we had any secure permanency in this house, I’d organize a replacement garden on the acres here.



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Lunchtime Not-Links: Pictures of Things Growing

I barely touched my feedly this weekend, so this morning I had thousands of unread things. I clicked “Mark all as read”. Then groaned as I realized I’d have nothing to share for lunchtime links today. Der.
So, here’s some pictures of people growing things!  I hope it inspires those of you doing the gardening thing this year.

If any of you out there have gardens growing, I would LOVE to share your pictures. Send them to me at

Maters in cartons via East Side Compost Pedallers

Fresh Eggs Daily

“I love spring! The garden is looking good…we share the beets, lettuce, garlic and carrot tops with the chickens..they’re not huge fans of the carrots themselves but our horses love those.”

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via  …”40 students added soil and compost to our new school garden! Get’n dirty at school!”


Jennydecki is getting chickens!  (Not her actual coop but she promises pictures soon)

Remember this family who was told they couldn’t have a veggie garden? They won the right to keep their garden.
If you hear of actions like this happening against people trying to grow gardens in their own yards or as a community, please support them w/ petitions, community meeting, and every possible way possible. Allowing people to grow their own food is crucial to food sovereignty.


Lunchtime Links: Sprouts Food Rescue,The Garden Queen of Atlanta & creating food security in indigenous communities

Took a little bit of a break last week while all my kids were all home for Spring break. Back at it today. Hope everyone had a good holiday.


Nice video about Sprouts Farmer’s Markets food rescue program. Smart grocery shops & markets cooperate with community agencies to get the edible but not saleable produce where it needs to go. It seems like Sprouts has taken the initiative itself instead of starting the program under community pressure, like what it took for Whole Foods to start donating their produce & bread.

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Haylene Green




“She Spoke and I Listened” is Haylene Green ‘s story. Haylene is The Garden Queen of the West End of Atlanta. She grows a tropical garden with fruits, herbs, giant gourds…things that would be found in her native homeland of Jamaica. Haylene says, “I have five children, and I spent more money on bread than on doctor bills for the past forty-seven years. My mom is eighty-six and she runs rings around me. My aim right now is to teach others for the future to eat nutritious, healthy food, and sustain themselves. That’s what I’m doing here in Atlanta, so that’s my plan: to teach the neighborhood how to survive.”

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Ancestral Pride logo BW 1



Growing Revolution and Food Security – an excellent perspective on the need for food sovereignty from Ancestral Pride , a blog that focuses on indigenous rights and community.
It’s an especially important goal for indigenous communities who are at far greater risk of living in poverty  to break the current food system chain and recreate food sovereignty.

“Our village is so rich and bountiful, i want to ensure our children who are gardening and harvesting can see their grand babies do the same. We are so economically depressed and struggling to stay afloat we are vulnerable. Industry such as fish farms, logging, mining all negatively impact our way of life and these corporations use our economic depression and the greed of leadership to further oppress us. Traditional foods are revolutionary because they call for radical reform the way we govern ourselves and secure economic viability. There is other ways to secure our futures for the next millennia to come!”


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Review: The Garden

The Garden

In the aftermath of The La Riots , the city of Los Angeles  gave the citizens of South Central LA a piece of property as a healing gesture. The land was to be used for a community garden, in the heart of the inner city. For 12 years, about 350 families farmed the 14 acres of land, making it a jewel in urban America – the largest urban garden anywhere in the US.Then quite suddenly, The Garden residents  were ordered to vacate the property. The original owner, through what can only be describes as suspicious political dealings, had bought the land back and wanted the farmers ..and the farm…off the land. He intended to use the land “as it was intended” – to develop the property & build warehouses.

The Garden documents the community’s struggle to keep the land that they had devoted so much time & energy into for 12 years.  The land fed their families, taught their children the value of community ,nature & self-sufficiency. In a community of all low income families, primarily Latino, the garden is what kept them from slipping farther into poverty, maintaining themselves on food they proudly grew themselves.  Not only it is a struggle for the land, it’s a struggle against greed,racism, dishonest politics & classism. The citizens also must deal with conflicts among themselves, as they try to sort out the anger that’s bound to result from one man & a city telling them that a piece of property is worth more than they are.

Intensely emotional to watch (or maybe only if your a rabid dirt-loving, real- food loving hormonal pregnant woman), The Garden is inspiring & infuriating all at once. The cause of The Garden was supported by some celebrity faces, who appear briefly in the film – most notably to me (since he’s one of my many Pretend Boyfriends) –  Zach de la Rocha  ,at a benefit concert organized to raise funds for the farmers to buy the land outright themselves.

A must-watch film for anyone concerned with sustainable food supply & urban farming, especially for low income families .

This post originally appeared on crazy dumbsaint of the mind on February 1,2010.