Wholesome Wave News in Review, January 18, 2013
Michel Nischan, CEO & Co-Founder Wholesome Wave
January 18, 2013
I hope you enjoyed the inaugural Wholesome Wave’s News in Review. Below are a few of the links that have caught my attention this week.
I was encouraged to read that two top former White House officials, Melody C. Barnes, former Director of the Domestic Policy Council under the Obama Administration, and John Bridgeland, former Director of the Domestic Policy Council under the Bush Administration, cited Wholesome Wave’s nutrition incentive program in a Politico Op Ed, entitled “Lesson for Congress: Invest in what works.” They said:
“For too many people, our food system fails to provide affordable access to healthful and fresh foods, and in an era of shrinking budgets, we need to find ways to maximize and scale the impact of federal dollars to generate better outcomes. The national nonprofit Wholesome Wave leverages private capital to provide consumers with low income access to fresh fruits and vegetables, including through its Double Value Coupon Program that matches dollars for the purchase of healthful local foods by SNAP consumers. The incentive program increases consumers’ ability to purchase healthful food and supports the viability of small and midsize farms. In 2012, the program served consumers in 25 states and the District of Columbia and grew farmers’ income by more than $2 million. Wholesome Wave is one of many organizations operating SNAP incentive programs in communities across the country… The inclusion of the SNAP incentive provision was an opportunity for Congress to demonstrate its commitment to fiscal responsibility and invest in smart programs with proven success.”
I hope Congress would also take note of the Healthy Food Incentives Cluster Evaluation. The nationwide study commissioned by Wholesome Wave, Fair Food Network, marketumbrella.org and Roots of Change concluded that programs designed to incentivize the use of Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) benefits at farmers markets significantly boost purchases and consumption of fruits and vegetables in underserved communities. Additionally the study found these programs provide measurable economic impacts to farmers, farmers markets and surrounding neighborhoods.
With more than 47 million people relying on SNAP, a National Academy of Sciences report found that the program does not account for many of the barriers inner-city shoppers face to finding affordable, nutritious food. An Iowa State University study published in the Journal of the American Statistical Association confirmed that SNAP is “… largely doing what it is intended to do—helping alleviate food insecurity.” ISU professor of economics Brent Kreider says the results are significant, “because nearly half of all American children are expected to receive SNAP assistance at some point in their childhood.” All this as a University of New Hampshire study found that food stamp participation continues to rise despite the fact that the poverty rate is leveling off.
Conversations around the stalled Farm Bill continued into this week. Sen. Tom Harkin, D-IA, said, “There is no good reason not to enact a farm bill. Continuing these short-term extensions is a huge missed opportunity and failure of responsibility.” According to an article posted at Roll Call Online, “Leaders of the House and Senate Agriculture committees say finishing a five-year farm bill is their priority, but they face a more difficult budget situation this year with legislation carrying a multiyear price tag of several hundred billion dollars.” Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack told members of the American Farm Bureau Federation that “We need a five-year [Farm] bill and we need it now.”