It's hard to compete with love and chocolate on Valentine's Day. The health benefits of both a loving partner and dark chocolate are well-documented. But this Valentine's Day, hearts across the country, and especially in our food deserts, will get an extra boost in the form of President Obama's recently signed Farm Bill.
There are still a lot of details to be ironed out. Under the program, the funding averages $20 million a year (for five years) in an $80 billion annual program with more than 47 million participants. If every SNAP participant were included, that would amount to less than 50 cents of incentives per person for the entire year.
In the passage of the current Farm Bill, Congress literally just took $9 billion in food stamps from hungry and poor families and gave it out to big agribusiness giants in the form of more corporate welfare. President Obama could send the bill back to Congress and refuse to sign it until Congress properly funds the food stamp program.
When the Farm Bill came out of conference with funding for nutrition incentives fully intact after two-and-a-half years of a very non-transparent and contentious process, we were elated. But as each day passed and the rush for support for the bill's passage heated the air, I, as a chef and father of two children living with diabetes, couldn't help but take the deep dive and feel disheartened by the overall bill.