Food & Justice News Nov 21, 2019

Food & Justice News Nov 21, 2019


  1. Ten Days Left: Comment Against Proposal to Cut SNAP Benefits Through Sneaky Back-Channel Method
  2. Water Policy Advisor Position Open for Mayor’s Chief Sustainability Office
  3. WIC EBT Card is Coming Soon: Statewide By March 2020
  4. Meat From Thin Air

Ten Days Left: Comment Against Proposal to Cut SNAP Benefits Through Sneaky Back-Channel Method

The federal government’s proposed rule changing the way that SNAP (CalFresh in California) determines how to calculate your electricity and gas costs (called the SUA or Standard Utility Allowance) would cut program benefits by a total of $4.5 billion over five years. In a high cost of living place like LA, that could hurt families, seniors and others struggling to make ends meet. Go to and put in your comment before December 2.

Tell the Trump Administration the proposal would

  • Exacerbate the struggles many low-income people have paying for costs of both food and utilities.
  • Have harmful impacts on health and well-being as well as on the economy.
  • Cause 19 percent of SNAP households to get lower SNAP monthly benefits.
  • Disproportionately impact elderly people and people with disabilities

Add your own ideas to the above. The administration is required to respond to each point made by the commenters (collectively.)

Comment deadline: December 2, 2019

Water Policy Advisor Position Open for Mayor’s Chief Sustainability Office

The Los Angeles Mayor’s Chief Sustainability Office is now recruiting a Water Policy Advisor.  The position is hosted by Liberty Hill, as there are several funders who contribute to the financing of the position. 

The new Water Policy Advisor would have a variety of duties including:

Lead the implementation of the Water and Urban Ecosystem chapters in Mayor Garcetti’s 2019 Sustainable City pLAn: L.A.’s Green New Deal.

Support the Chief Sustainability Officer (CSO) to ensure continued progress on existing ambitious water conservation and local water reliability goals as set forth in Executive Directive #5 and the 2015 Sustainable City Plan.

Oversee the Mayor’s Water Cabinet, chaired by the CSO and Deputy Mayor for City Services, to facilitate coordination between City agencies to reduce water consumption and meet local water goals.

Serve as co-chair of the Tree Committee and ensure coordinated policy approaches between local water and ecosystem services and resiliency provided by trees, green infrastructure, open space, biodiversity.

Engage internal and external stakeholders to identify partnerships and address challenges related to water, green infrastructure, and biodiversity.

See the link below for more details and to apply:

WIC EBT Card is Coming Soon: Statewide By March 2020

Those familiar with the WIC program know that it’s a paper voucher program which is a bit cumbersome at grocery stores. The fruit and vegetable vouchers, among other things, have an expiration date. The conversion of WIC from paper to an Electronic Benefits Transfer (EBT) card, in the style of CalFresh, will no doubt be welcome for many consumers.

From the official California WIC website:

“Each family will receive one WIC Card for all of their family's food benefits. The WIC Card will provide a more convenient way for families to shop for WIC foods and provide flexibility to get just what they need at each shopping trip. In addition, families will not lose their WIC food benefits if their WIC Card is lost, stolen or damaged.”

The state has been divided into zones and the use of the WIC EBT card will be phased in over a period that began in June and will continue through March of 2020.

Check the map at the link below for more information on this phase in :

Meat From Thin Air

Editor’s Note: I’m not a big fan of technological solutions to food access, mainly because they almost never address the real problem—poverty. Environmental issues pose another concern: regardless of who can afford to eat it, how do we deal with the destruction of the planet through industrial agriculture? I’m sharing this article so that people have an idea of some of the current experimental forays into new ways of arranging molecules for the purpose of maintaining human life.

Hannah Devlin, in The Guardian: “In a feat that has biblical overtones, a California startup claims to have developed a technology that can create “meat” from thin air. Is this latest artificial meat product the ultimate solution to the environmental catastrophe the world’s growing meat consumption poses, or a pipe dream that will never make it beyond the lab?”

“The air-based “meat” comes from a company called Air Protein and is based on an idea conceived by Nasa in the 1960s as a possible way to feed astronauts in space. The basic concept is that CO2 breathed out by astronauts could be converted into nutrients by microorganisms called hydrogenotrophs.”

“By cultivating these microbes inside fermentation tanks and feeding them a mix of CO2 and various other nutrients, Air Protein has shown it can produce an ingredient that is 80% protein. The end-product has the appearance of a pale brown powder and is said to have a “neutral flavour”. Calling it meat might be a bit of a stretch, but the company says it could be blended with other ingredients to create meat alternatives or used as a supplement in protein bars or shakes.”

“Most meat-free meats are based on soy or other plant proteins, which have their own land-use footprint. This would have the environmental advantage of being made inside fermenting units, the company says.”

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