U.S. Reps. Kelly, Bost Introduces Bipartisan Legislation that Empowers Farmers to Help Combat Food Deserts
Washington, DC – U.S. Representatives Robin Kelly (IL-02) and Mike Bost (IL-12) introduced bipartisan legislation that empowers farmers to help combat food deserts. The Feeding America through Farm Flexibility Act would enable farmers to grow fruits and vegetables on an additional five percent of their acreage without a crop insurance penalty, if the food is sold or donated to food deserts.
“There are people in my district who live 20 miles from farms but simply can’t get fresh fruits and vegetables for their families. From my conversations with farmers, it’s clear that our current policies are preventing farmers from helping to solve the food desert crisis,” said Congresswoman Robin Kelly. “I’m glad to be working with Rep. Bost on this pragmatic solution that solves a real world problem and empowers farmers to feed hungry families.”
“I am happy to join my colleague and fellow Illinoisan, Representative Kelly, in introducing this important bipartisan legislation. Southern Illinois is home to a rich and diverse agriculture sector,” said Representative Bost. “This bill will allow our producers to capitalize on that diversity while also helping those most in need.”
The U.S. Department of Agriculture estimated that 23.5 million Americans currently live in food deserts, including 600,000 in the Chicagoland area. According to the Department of Agriculture’s Food Desert Locator, Illinois has many food deserts. Please see the map below.
The Feeding America through Farm Flexibility Act was first introduced by Representative Kelly during the 114th Congress. It has already won the support of the Illinois Farm Bureau.
“Illinois Farm Bureau supports Congresswoman Kelly’s bill to increase fruit and vegetable production on an additional five percent of base acres without payment penalties for food that is either sold or donated in areas defined as ‘food deserts,’” said Illinois Farm Bureau president Richard Guebert. “Farm Bureau believes it’s a ‘win-win’ for farmers in Illinois and other states who would like to diversify their operations at a time of low commodity prices and for consumers in underserved urban and rural areas who will benefit by having better access to locally produced fruit and vegetables.