House Agriculture Subcommittee Chairs Marcia Fudge of Ohio, Jim Costa of California, and Stacey Plaskett of the U.S. Virgin Islands unveiled legislation that will help streamline the donation of food by farmers to food banks across the country as it confronts growing hunger related to the coronavirus pandemic.
The Farm to Food Bank Enhancement Act would provide $25 million for states to expand or establish new Farm to Food bank projects as part of The Emergency Food Assistance Program, or TEFAP. The federal funding would be used to cover up to 100 percent of harvesting, processing, packaging, and transportation costs for covered commodities.
“At the same time millions of hungry Americans are lining up at food banks as a result of the pandemic, many of our nation’s farmers and agriculture producers are seeing their demand disappear and are having to destroy millions of pounds of fresh food,” said Rep. Fudge, who chairs the Agriculture Subcommittee on Nutrition, Oversight, and Department Operations. “Our bill will help to connect those two important parts of the emergency response, making great strides toward preventing food waste and fighting hunger that is reaching new, unprecedented highs.”
“California farmers and foodbanks have already proven this model works,” said Rep. Costa. “As Chairman of the Subcommittee on Livestock and Foreign Agriculture, I know our fruit, vegetable, dairy, livestock, and poultry farmers have lost markets for their products, and this bill will help get some of what they produce to the people who need it more than ever right now.”
“This legislation is a step in the right direction for both our farmers and our food-insecure families. As Chair of the Biotechnology, Horticulture, and Research Subcommittee, I am committed to ensuring that we support specialty crop farmers during this difficult time and better connect families in need more quickly with nutritious fruits and vegetables,” added Plaskett.
A summary of the legislation is available here.