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]

#HandsOffSnap

 


The House votes Friday on the current Farm Bill. This version cut or reduce food assistance for an estimated 2 million recipients. This bill imposes stricter work requirements and will highly impact single parents, older folks, and people with disabilities.
Take a few minutes to call your congressperson and ask them to vote NO on HR2 and cuts to SNAP. The Capital switchboard is 202-224-3121 or you can call your reps local office.

I’m including some helpful articles here if you need to familiarize yourself with the issues and talking points. 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

What the hell is the Farm Bill anyway?

For Farmers on SNAP, the Farm Bill Will Hurt in More Ways Than One

Congress should leave the food stamps program alone

“It’s weird growing food and being hungry at the same time”

2018 Farm Bill imposes a lifetime ban from SNAP for people convicted of certain offenses w/ no option for states to opt out

Farm Bill seeks to restrict food stamp benefits while allowing subsidies for billionaires

 

UPDATE: This bill passed. To learn about the Senate bill, go here

september 18th,2017 things

(Image credit: Miami2you/Shutterstock )

helping others: How To Help Hurricane Irma Victims Regain Food Security  – orgs to donate to that are helping feed people (similar link at the bottom of that page to article on helping Hurricane Harvey folks). The good news is that both Texas and Florida have put emergency protocols in place for SNAP users so that they can use their EBT for prepared hot food. They can also apply to get additional funds to replace food in their homes that was lost to power outage & destruction.

political involvement: Why I’m Going To Run For Office –“I’m done putting my faith in well-meaning surrogates. That’s not enough now, and it never really was.”
Right on. We really need more diverse candidates representing marginalized citizens.

podcast: Earhustle – created and produced by inmates at San Quentin, this podcast tells real stories about life in prison. Start from the beginning.

truth:
Image may contain: 2 people, people smiling, text

 

The most ridiculous thing about this is that even if the pampering is free or super low cost, I will still get criticism. For example, posting a picture of my current read (from the library most likely) with a nice cup of cocoa almost always means I’ll see some sort of commentary about how I shouldn’t be so lazy or irresponsible with money. It isn’t just about the money aspect, it’s also about what’s seen as leisure and “mismanagement of time” that could presumably be spent working or maybe just  huddled in a corner wearing rags by a fireplace with nothing but ask while I cry myself to sleep.

Self care: Do it. Poor people need it more than anyone else.


Was reading these links kind of a bummer? I do these nearly-daily link roundups at my other blog,too, and those are a lot happier and prettier.

Other places to find me:
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If you like the work I do here at Poor as Folk, please considering being a supporter through Patreon. Your support will help keep the lights on and the content flowing, as well as help me develop printed publications such as cookbooks and zines designed to help low income folks. Even if you can only pledge $1 or $3 per month, that is SO appreciated! If even half the readers of this blog pledged that small amount, it would be significant enough to bring change and growth in my own life.
POOR AS FOLK ON PATREON OR ONE TIME DONATION VIA PAYPAL TO LUCKYFISHHOMESTEAD@GMAIL.COM

the diabetes situation

I lay in bed this morning listening to my husband get ready for work. I heard him take a pill bottle down from the top of the fridge, open the cap. The pills skitter down the plastic amber cylinder.  He pops the top back on, replaces the bottle to it’s home. The process repeats three more times. Then a few seconds later I hear the beep of his glucose meter reading off his morning number. He walks in to where I’m sleep-waking, leans down and whispers, “190”.  Not surprising after goulash dinner the night before but not as bad as it has been some days.

He came home from another diabetic counseling session about two weeks ago. He hands me various papers that he was specifically told to give to his wife when he gets home, like he’s a child who needs to hand over papers to Mommy when he gets home from school. Would they do that to me if I was the diabetic? Take these home to your husband. Highly unlikely.
“No more pasta at all”, he says. He says other things about food that I couldn’t even hear right then. I flipped out and threw the papers everywhere, yelling, “Are they going to pay our grocery bill now so that can happen?” If  only I could swipe our insurance card at the register.

Later I picked all the papers up and tossed them into the woodstove, feeding them to the fire. I know what they all say anyway. Knowing what they say and making it happen on the Cheap Carb Grocery Budget are two incompatible things that aren’t going to get married anytime soon.

 

 

 

Image result for diabetes funny

This week at the food pantry

Mood: frustrated yet still grateful and motivated to commit creative acts of pantry anarchy.

The highlight of this week’s visit to the food pantry was definitely the 14 lb turkey. I should be able to make that stretch a bit after the holidays.
Other than that, it was weirdly unholiday like. No typical holiday dinner trimmings, although we did bring home an apple pie. Our food pantry doesn’t do cookie or baked goods usually and if they do, they don’t have enough for everyone so you roll a die when you come in and if you roll whatever number they pick that day, you get to choose one thing. The last time we rolled and won was on husbeast’s birthday last January and yay, they had a whole cake!

There was also just pears and carrots for produce. Oh, and a melon! My boys enjoyed that.
I have my vegetarian daughter home from college for the holidays so I was disappointed but we’ll figure it out.
pears

I think I might make a spiced pear and carrot cake for our Yule dessert tonight.

The food pantry was also really slim on other protein picks this week , I’m guessing because they had whole turkeys. We brought home some ground turkey,too (had last night as meatballs with penne) and canned beans. No dry beans,even. We did get shredded cheese, which they never have, and a thing of cottage cheese. Lots of canned fruit and pasta,though.

Anyway, please don’t listen to the GOP when they say that people who have their food stamps cut will be fine because food pantries will take care of hungry people. That isn’t going to work. The end.

 

 

 

 

daily links::a food waste cookbook!, news on teen hunger, and more

2016-09-24

There’s a cookbook called Amazing Waste with recipes entirely devoted to cooking with scraps,leftovers,etc. I haven’t had a chance to look through the entire thing yet but this looks like the kind of cookbook I would write. Am writing. These kinds of recipes are great for food pantry users (at least my food pantry) where you might end up with produce that is not the prettiest or freshest.

The entire cookbook is available for free RIGHT HERE.

Thanks to my local food waste reduction -anti hunger group Friendship Donations Network for passing along that info.


·:   Five Questions with JoAnne Berkenkamp, Food Waste Expert and Advocate  – there’s a lot of food waste going on but it’s getting better thanks to mainstream recognition and initiatives to reduce waste


:· some new research reveals some sad information about teenagers living in homes with food insecurity  . Even if teenagers do have access to programs that give them food,they’re too worried about what their peers will think to use them openly but also they are underserved by programs like The Backpack Program, which focuses on elementary aged kids. This is something touched on before here when one of our readers was trying to develop a program for older kids.

As a result, in households where hunger was most acute, teens reported engaging in all kinds of risky behavior to obtain food, including: shoplifting food directly, selling drugs for cash and/or engaging in “transactional dating,” i.e., engaging in sexual relationships with older adults in exchange for food and money. In a few communities, some teens even viewed going to jail as a viable option to ensure regular meals. The report also revealed the degree to which hungry teens look out for each other and for their younger siblings, often forgoing meals or sharing their food with those also in need.

Here’s a summary of the full report: Impossible Choices

My teenager’s high school made school lunch available for free to ALL students, regardless of income. If high schools did that widely, this would eliminate so much of these issues. Her school also has Free Food Friday where food donations picked up from a local rescue agency is available in the school lobby for anyone to take home. My daughter very rarely gets anything because it’s completely gone by the time she has a chance to check it out. Even when she is there on time, it’s difficult to get anything. No one is shy about taking food home. Now I have to wonder why these students have no reluctance to take free food. The school is a small charter school that focuses on sustainability and social justice (nope, don’t go off on me about how awful charter schools are) . Is it just that the culture of the school is centered on taking care or others and being stewards of the earth? A lot for me to think about there. I asked my daughter what she thinks and she says it’s because the school works hard to be a safe space for everyone and “no one judges people for things like that”.


Meanwhile in my community, the school district just expanded their Fresh Snack Program to include another school so that it now serves 1,200 elementary students. The Youth Farm Project (which one of my older kids worked at and let em tell you…that’s an AMAZING program) and other local farms provide a weekly snack to be served with the intention of expanding food horizons and food accessibility. It’s awesome.

My 6 year old was very critical of the yellow watermelon mentioned in the article linked above. He spent his summer growing his own watermelon, so he’s an expert now.
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He’s a super proud watermelon farmer.  I think we actually have a couple left to harvest. I plan on making this watermelon pie. YESSSSSSSSS.

What foods would you like to see in a Backpack Program?

I’m sharing this question today from a reader who is involved with starting a Backpack Program for junior high aged kids in her area.

For anyone not familiar with the Backpack Program : every Friday during the school year, food is sent home via backpack . The goal is to provide  food for the weekend to kids who rely on free school meals.

S asks:

If your student came home and opened their backpack on Friday afternoon, what would be most helpful to find?

Parameters:

Total gross weight under about 5 pounds

Picky kid friendly

Nutritious

Easy prep since some families have no cooking facilities except possibly a microwave

Pretty cheap, like $5 retail

 

 

Checking food privilege

Read worthy this morning, this piece ,Check Your Food Privilege , authored by Carrie at Our Stable Table– it’s  a point close to my heart and one people are probably sick of me making so I’m glad someone else said it.

We lost our ability to be picky because we were so completely broke”.  

When I started doing my Pantry Anarchy recipes I know there were people who seemed quite dismayed that they weren’t “low cost real food” recipes. There are enough food bloggers out there giving advice on how low income people can eat healthy and what I personally hear is that the information isn’t helpful. It’s more helpful to have ideas on what to do with stale bread, canned peas, dehydrated potato flakes, and a tube of USDA issued ground beef. Because that’s what low income people are more likely to have access to. Ideally, I try to use the low quality ingredients I have to create food that’s creative, delicious, and nutritious but at the end of the day, #1 priority is that it’s edible and fills a space in our stomachs.

The way many of us low income people eat is not the way we would love to eat and on the flip side of that, many people who do not struggle with food insecurity are not conscientious about eating “healthy” and no one chastises them for purposefully choosing fast food and junk.  People with food privilege should check their own while also looking at who they are choosing to  aim their “concern” (shaming often) toward. Are you focused on the people who choose to eat poorly even though they have the means to eat well or the people who don’t have the means to eat any other way but poorly and have little choice in the matter?

 

 

 

 

via Natural Cures Not Medicine

Sure. Great fridge for a vegan with money and ability to do food preservation for anything that needs to be preserved before it becomes waste because dang, that’s a lot of fresh produce to use up. I guess what bothers me about images like this is that they declare that people should eat like this but are they saying, “EVEN POOR PEOPLE!” or ….are they just expecting everyone to make it happen for themselves? I never know .