Monday, November 27, 2017

Launching the Food and Farms Coalition

At the Hub, we know that our entire community is affected by the food industry; as workers, as eaters, as food stamp recipients-- that's why we can't ignore the upcoming reauthorization of the Farm Bill. As a result, this year we are launching the Food and Farms Coalition (FFC) to build power!  The FFC includes the Hub's Advocacy Working Group and Hoosier Action, working together with small farmers, SNAP recipients and those concerned about the food system.

Hoosier Action launched in April 2017 to build the political power of Indiana's working families through robust community organizing. They take on campaigns around economic and social issues that impact everyday people across the region.

The Hub's Advocacy Working Group aims to address the issues of poverty and injustice that lead to food insecurity. Our core issues are food security, affordable healthcare, and affordable housing. The Food and Farms Coalition will launch our first Farm Bill campaign.

The Farm Bill is a congressional bill that re-authorizes every 5 years or so, and it dictates how much funding will go to food and agriculture programs in the U.S. Our current Farm Bill is going to be expiring on September 30, 2018, so there are some changes that may occur. We want to provide as much information as we possibly can on this year's Bill so that everyone can benefit from it, working together to ensure the Bill is fair to agriculture workers and buyers and all those affected by food insecurity.

Our Indiana Senator, Joe Donnelly, sits on the Senate Agriculture Committee, which works directly on the Senate's version of the Farm Bill.  As his constituents we need to let him know what we think, and how he can best represent us.

Let's work together to stay informed, raise our voices and work toward a strong, healthy Farm Bill.  The Food and Farm Coalition will meet monthly, please join us tomorrow, Tuesday, November 28th at the Hub from 6pm-8pm to get started!

Monday, November 20, 2017

Cuts to Food Stamps

“SNAP has helped me out several times in my life. In college, it's how I ate. Now, I use it to help me buy food since I live paycheck to paycheck.” -SNAP recipient, Hub patron

In March, President Trump proposed $193 billions dollars in cuts to the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), formerly known as Food Stamps. These massive cuts would be a drastic blow to one of the most effective hunger and poverty prevention programs in the United States. A program that has:
  • Lifted millions of households out of poverty: SNAP kept 10.3 million people out of poverty in 2012, including 4.9 million children.
  • Helped families put nutritious food on the table.
  • Promoted long-term health and well-being, especially for children.
  • Provided a valuable safety-net, both during economic downturn and natural disasters.
In Indiana:
  • It kept 224,000 Hoosiers out of poverty, including 111,000 children, per year between 2009 and 2012

How will these cuts affect Hoosiers in Monroe County?

In Monroe County, over 25,000 community members experience food insecurity - the second highest rate of food insecurity in the state of Indiana. Of those families and individuals, nearly 8,000 receive SNAP benefits, and it serves as a valuable resource for putting food on the table.

If these funding cuts go into effect, thousands of Hoosiers will no longer be able to afford a healthy diet. Nearly 75% of SNAP benefits go to households with children or have someone with a disability. While we would hope these would be the last groups to be affected by any changes, there is no guarantee when such a large sum of money is involved. If federal funds are cut, we will be unable to count on the state of Indiana to fill the gap with a tight state budget.

If SNAP benefits got cut...“[i]t would make it harder to pay the bills on time. Either a bill wouldn't be paid or I would sacrifice food for bills. I make less than what I owe. I am very fortunate to have found resources for food from my friends, from growing my own food, and from organizations like the Hub, but many people in a worse situation really struggle. They will get very low quality food if enough food at all.”


Wednesday, November 1, 2017

Building Social Inclusion at the Hub!

Submitted by Advocacy Intern Meagan Wilson. 

Last night, the Hub got together with BTCC Bloomington to discuss social inclusion in the Bloomington community!

Our ideas about the current reality of social
inclusion in Bloomington
Gaging the amount of progress made on social issues
in Bloomington

Social inclusion is a topic of vital importance here at the Hub. Promoting social inclusion is one of our foundational beliefs, and we want to foster it in the community as much as we can. Bloomington still has a long way to go in terms of racial, gender and income equality, but it isn't too late to start making progress.

We understand how much social inclusion can impact our patrons and friends -- oppression and inequality are the cornerstones of poverty and food insecurity. That's why in every community, it's so important to build inclusivity. We want to build support networks, change systems, start conversations and look out for one another.

During the talk, we discussed big picture ideas for fostering social inclusion: raising the minimum wage, bridging the gap between Indiana University's campus and the city of Bloomington, and investing in infrastructure so as to provide low-income individuals affordable housing. However, these aren't all that you can do for helping create a more socially inclusive community; sometimes, grassroots changes can make just as big of a difference as big picture ideas. Start talking to your neighbors, reach out to people who might need help, and stand up for your community in everyday situations. Encourage education and compassion. If everyone contributes to our vision of a more socially inclusive community, it could become a reality sooner than we think.