News Update Mar. 8th 2016

To All Those Interested in Food and Justice...

A (usually) weekly update on food issues, promoting access to sufficient, affordable, healthy food—with a focus on campaigns you can become active in!

March 8th 2016

March 7: Sacramento , as it is wont to do, is becoming the center of some critical decisions about food access by low income people in California in the coming year: Will our elected officials invest in helping 1.4 million people with disabilities and seniors rise above the poverty level----food being the number one item named by a significant number of them as the thing they needed most and could not afford? Will they invest in nutrition incentives programs like Market Match that make farm fresh food affordable for people getting CalFresh----and help our small farmers at the same time?

And: Will you and/or your organization, if you’re involved in one, commit to helping make these things happen?

1. Support Nutrition Incentives in the California Budget

Last year, the State of California’s government passed a terrific bill: it established a program that makes fresh fruit and vegetables more affordable for low-income families, and drives revenue to California's small and mid-sized farms. It also attracts matching funds from the Federal Government. Problem is, this win-win-win program isn't funded!

We need to educate our elected officials about programs like Market Match, which is now at 230 farmers markets in California including 26 here in LA County.

Committees of the state government will be looking at this program in the next few weeks and making a decision whether to put the money into the bill that they already passed last year (that was AB 1321 authored by Assemblymember Phil Ting).

Let’s tell them: Nutrition incentives are a great idea---they help low income Californians eat healthier and help our small farmers too! Put the money into the state budget for nutrition incentives!

Organizations: See the attached sample letter and follow the instructions on where to send it.

Individuals: Here’s a petition to sign so that we can begin showing our state officials that we’re in favor of making a great idea a reality!

Support Making Farm Fresh Food Affordable!

(Thanks to our colleagues at The Ecology Center for this petition)

Save the Date: April 1, Friday

Californians have been fighting for years to end the criminalization of homelessness. With tens of thousands of homeless persons in LA County and not even close to that number of shelter beds, it doesn’t make sense to write people tickets essentially for being on the street. For them, there is no option. Save the date ---Friday April 1, for an action to call attention to the hundreds of properties owned by the city of L.A. that are currently not being used for anything, and could be converted into shelters or even long term housing for our homeless residents. More information is forthcoming for Friday April 1. (PS: This is NOT going to be an April Fool’s Joke).

Hunger Action Day May 24-25 : LA to Sacramento

Over the past 10 years, Hunger Action LA as part of the statewide California Hunger Action Coalition has brought over 500 low income people to Sacramento to meet their legislators face to face in their natural habitat, and tell them how it really is beyond the confines of the Capitol walls, in the streets, in line at food pantries, desparately struggling for money for food or rent and looking for nonexistent jobs, or struggling to comply with arcane welfare rules requiring them to somehow simultaneously work, show up for classes and take care of their kids.

Many of them were changed forever by their experience: two of them became board members of Hunger Action LA, and others have returned each year, helping to train people doing this for the first time. A diverse array of people---students, retired persons, seniors, families with kids---have taken part in this Hunger Action Day, and they’ve achieved some pretty remarkable things, such as ending our state’s punitive rules forbidding food assistance to people with past drug offenses, simplifying the process of receiving CalFresh, and passing laws that gave companies incentive to donate to our state’s food banks.

So, join us this year for Hunger Action Day. It’s a two day sojourn, May 24 and 25, on buses leaving from LA to Sacramento. We stay overnight on Tuesday night and on Wednesday we rally together with hundreds of other Californians from other locations including San Diego, the Central Valley, Santa Cruz, the Bay Area and the far North. We visit our legislators and educate them on all the issues you read about here----homelessness, SSI, nutrition incentives. Many details such as the bus pick up point will be ironed out over the next few weeks, but if you are interested in participating in Hunger Action Day email:
[email protected]

Buses and hotels do cost money. No one is turned away for lack of funds. If you can make a contribution to help us defray the expenses of Hunger Action Day please do so at:

Donate to Hunger Action LA

For those who can’t take the considerable time off to head up to the Capitol, don’t feel bad: a virtual Hunger Action Day is in the works!

Support Letter: $5 Million Dollar Budget Proposal for the Nutrition Incentive Matching Grant Program

Sample Letter for your Organization to Sign and Send to Assemblymember Richard Bloom in support of a 5 million dollar increase for the Nutrition Incentive Grant Program budget.

More information and the sample letter are available on our Support Letters Page: here

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