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WASHINGTON, DC--Congresswoman Marcia L. Fudge (OH-11) today will introduce the Let’s Grow Act of 2012 to support sustainable agriculture activities in American cities, promote urban farming, eradicate hunger and improve access to healthy food.  The legislation addresses the epidemic of hunger and the high rate of childhood obesity, as well as encourages health and wellness in our communities. 

"This bill will allow American cities to address chronic problems dealing with hunger and obesity as well as health and wellness.  It will provide a path for more Americans to live healthier lives by focusing on local, fresh foods.  It provides incentives for urban gardening, which are especially important in urban areas including Cleveland, and gives agricultural entrepreneurs the support they need to grow and build successful enterprises," said Congresswoman Fudge.

"This bill will give a generation of children, many of whom are estimated to have shorter life expectancies than their parents due to poor health, a hope for the future.  It will allow low-income residents access to healthier foods and improve their diets, relieving some of the stress on our current health care system.  With thousands of acres of vacant property from the foreclosure crisis as well as a recession that hit middle class families hard, many cities need investment in their local infrastructure, local food production, and the health of their residents."

The bill:

  • Improves access to nutritious food by promoting an expansion of the use of Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) benefit at farmers markets across the nation and assisting local corner stores to offer more fresh food options;
  • Lowers the rate of childhood obesity by creating the Farm-to-Preschool Program and a private, public partnerships to conduct assessments on the availability of nutritious foods served to children through federal feeding programs;
  • Eradicates hunger through the Weekends and Holidays Without Hunger program for kids, and the expansion and modernization of The Emergency Food Assistance Program (TEFAP), which makes funding for TEFAP food more responsive to changes in need through the creation of a trigger that ties funding to the unemployment rate.  This will increase support to food banks during an economic downturn.
  • Encourages training and job creation by establishing the Urban Agricultural Workforce Training Pilot Programming, which provides grants to develop and implement urban agricultural workforce training programs.
  • Incentivizes urban farming through the creation of the Urban Entrepreneur and Microenterprise Assistance Program, which includes training and operation support for prospective and struggling urban farmers, as well as a grant program to assist with the creation and sustaining of community gardens.  The legislation includes grants for eligible individuals and entities to acquire abandoned and/or foreclosed properties in urban areas to convert for agricultural uses, while supporting the conversion of public land to usage for urban farms and community gardens.

The legislation could increase annual regional output and expand state and local tax collections as well as increase the food security of hundreds of thousands of people, especially residents who live in food deserts.


Summary of the Let's Grow Act of 2012 (04/16/1207:36 AMET )