Advocacy on the 2023 Farm Bill Calls for Stronger Support for Urban Farmers, Nutrition Programs

By Dennis Archambault

Sen. Debbie Stabenow, at the recent MOTION Coalition Summit, asked participants to continue its support of her efforts to diversify the benefits of the U.S. Farm Bill to support access to healthy food and supporting a sustainable, equitable food system. She noted that aside from maintaining adequate funding for the Supplemental Food Assistance Program, the Farm Bill established the Office of Urban Agriculture, which directly benefits the growth, distribution, and processing of fresh food within urban areas like Detroit. Urban farms and community gardens are not novelties but a permanent component of the agriculture system in the United States, which is dominated by large, corporate farms. Sen. Stabenow asked MOTION Coalition participants to consider four key objectives in Farm Bill advocacy:

  • Protect SNAP and funding for food banks.
  • Strengthen the Double Up Food Bucks, which allows families to buy more fruits and vegetables.
  • Fund nutrition education programs.
  • Ensure that people have safe places to play and exercise.

The Michigan Food and Farming Systems organization, which connects beginning and historically underserved farmers to resource opportunities and each other, is a regional advocate for the Farm Bill. On its website, the organization features policy priorities for the National Young Farmers Coalition, Native Farm Bill Organization, and National Sustainable Agriculture Coalition. The Young Farmers, in particular, are calling for $25 million to support the Office of Urban Agriculture and innovative production programs. The National Sustainable Agriculture Coalition also is calling for investment in healthy urban and rural communities, supporting beginning farmers (many in urban areas0 and strengthening the farm safety net, advancing racial equity within the food system, supporting farmers of color, and building a climate of resilient future.

MFFS will be conducting Farm Bill Grassroots Gatherings throughout the state this summer. Check the website calendar for meetings in Southeast Michigan.

The MOTION Coalition, focused on “active living and healthy eating” in its efforts to reduce childhood obesity, is positioned to advocate for these alternative ways of defining “agriculture” in America, while cultivating a stronger, more sustainable food system.

Dennis Archambault is vice president of Public Affairs for Authority Health.