HALA Food Justice Education Corner


HALA Food Justice Education Corner

Basic Training: Farm Bill and the Thrifty Food Plan 


The Farm Bill is a package of legislation passed once every five years.  There bill has a direct impact on agriculture, food systems, and consumers.

It covers programs ranging from crop insurance for farmers to healthy food access for low-income families.

The Farm Bill has different sections, known as titles, that can change over time. The last Farm Bill had 12 titles.

Out of those 12 titles, Title Four is the most relevant for anti-hunger advocates.

The Nutrition title covers the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), as well as a variety of smaller nutrition programs to help individuals and families with low incomes afford food.

Farm Bill Fact Sheet

What is the Thrifty Food Plan?

The USDA determines SNAP benefit allotments based on the Thrifty Food Plan (TFP), which is the lowest cost of the four USDA food plans. Fortunately, due to the bipartisan 2018 Farm Bill (H.R. 2), the USDA is mandated to review the TFP every 5 years to reassess the cost of food, nutritional content, dietary guidance, and the eating habits of Americans.

Even after the TFP reevaluation, SNAP benefits still average only $6 per person per day, which is barely enough for a cup of coffee.

During the pandemic, SNAP benefits were raised, and that helped families to buy more food and therefore be able to also pay the rent and other bills with less stress. Those emergency allotments (also called EAs) ended in March of 2023, and since then hunger has intensified. It’s important to strengthen critical food benefits for households facing hunger.

The current maximum SNAP benefit levels still fall short of the cost of low-income meals in 98% of California counties.

Most Americans agree that we should increase SNAP allotments to reflect current nutrition guidance and changing food costs.

The Closing the Meal Gap Act H.R. 3037 (Adams) / S. 1336 (Gillibrand) aims to improve SNAP benefit adequacy by permanently adopting the Low-Cost Food Plan, raising the minimum allotment (currently a meager $23 a month), and removing the shelter cap that harms rent-burdened Californians.


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