Wholesome Wave understands the challenges and trends associated with developing a comprehensive agriculture, food, and nutrition system in the United States. We identify and evaluate key policy options and look at their potential risks and benefits. We then pursue those goals to make meaningful change to benefit under-served communities and family farmers.

The Farm Bill
Front and center in our work on federal policy is the Farm Bill. Last Spring the Senate passed a Farm Bill that reformed farm policy, consolidates and streamlines programs, and reduced the deficit by $23.6 billion. The Farm Bill passed by the House this July, however, contained no provisions for the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (formerly known as Food Stamps) and leaves conservation, research, and rural development programs exposed and vulnerable in the next cycle. When the House and Senate appoint conferees to work out the differences between these two bills, Wholesome Wave will continue to push for full funding for SNAP and advocate for programs that increase the affordability of fresh, locally grown fruits and vegetables for the participants struggling to put fresh food on the family table, including the:

  •  Innovations in SNAP by providing for use of Electronic Benefit Transfer (EBT) cards with smart phone technology and allowing benefits to be used to prepay Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) shares

Advocacy Work
Wholesome Wave engages in both direct and grassroots advocacy to accomplish our policy goals. Our staff works closely with lawmakers and agency representatives while also using education to build our program partners capacity to effect policy change on the city, state, and federal level. Our advocacy work over the past year has centered on the pending Farm Bill, FDA food safety regulations, and IRS rules on Community Health Needs Assessments conducted by non-profit hospitals. To take part in our current advocacy campaign, please visit our Advocacy Page.  To learn about our past advocacy campaigns, please see below.

Federal and State Accomplishments
Wholesome Wave assists partners in applying for a variety of United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) grants by providing grant proposal language and one-on-one preparation assistance as needed. In addition, Wholesome Wave works closely with Federal and State agencies to provide technical assistance and advocate for progressive policy change. Accomplishments include:

  • Worked with the Food and Nutrition Service of the USDA in 2009 and 2010 on its regulations for SNAP. The resulting change allows SNAP clients to benefit from nutrition incentives at farmers markets and has been the lynchpin for the proliferation of incentive programs around the country.
  •  In 2012 our partners in seven states successfully applied for SCBGs, resulting in grants totaling approximately $182,000
  •  In 2012, Wholesome Wave provided direct technical assistance to nine of our partner organizations who secured a total of $356,000 in Farmers Market Promotion Program grants to pay for EBT terminals and related infrastructure.

Municipal Accomplishments
Wholesome Wave works with a growing number of city food policy advisers around the country to raise awareness and excitement for incentive programs at farmers markets. In the fall of 2010, 2011, and 2012 we sponsored convenings for mayoral food policy advisers. The networking fostered by Wholesome Wave has resulted in exciting developments that have given voice to a powerful constituency in the food movement, including:

  • Ten big-city mayors, spearheaded by the office of New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg, weighed in on the Farm Bill debate in Congress by sending a letter to the Chairs and Ranking Members of the Agriculture Committees in the House and Senate. They stressed the “opportunity to promote food security and the health of our residents, while also fueling economic growth and protecting our environment.”
  • In partnership with our D.C. based partners and the D.C. City Council Wholesome Wave helped secure a $50,000 allocation in the D.C. City Council Fiscal Year 2013 budget to support expanding nutrition incentive programs at farmers markets in the District.

Past Policy Updates and Advocacy Campaigns