As the Clearinghouse Review editorial team learned in its June 20 webinar, an overwhelming number of people are concerned about the local food movement’s effect on low-income Americans. The Review’s webinar, “Does the Local Food Movement Help or Hurt Hungry Low-Income Americans,” had 381 registrants and 217 participants from forty-one states, including Hawaii, New Mexico, Mississippi, New Hampshire, Vermont, Oklahoma, Wisconsin, Kentucky, Utah, Colorado, Maine and West Virginia.
During the webinar, each panelist answered a question related to his or her practice. Then, the moderator, Susan Schneider, director of the University of Arkansas’s ground-breaking LL.M. Program in Agricultural & Food Law, opened the webinar up for questions. Audience members asked probing and insightful questions about a wide range of issues. Participants inquired about:
- Food deserts.
- Proposals to prevent Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) recipients from using their benefits on unhealthy foods.
- The role of food banks in securing food for low-income populations.
- Staggered issuance of SNAP benefits.
- Rural food insecurity.
- How low-income Americans who are ineligible for public assistance benefits can gain from the local food movement.
- Whether local food programs really create jobs.
The webinar panelists were Dan Lesser, Director of Economic Security at the Shriver Center; Jessica Bartholow, Legislative Advocate at the Western Center on Law and Poverty; Emily Broad Leib, Senior Clinical Fellow at Harvard Law School’s Center for Health Law and Policy Innovation and Director of the Center’s Food Law and Policy Program, and Valerie McWilliams, Senior Supervisory Attorney at the Land of Lincoln Legal Assistance Foundation.
If you weren’t able to join Clearinghouse Review for the webinar, a YouTube recording of the discussion is available here. To learn more about low-income Americans and the local food movement, you can visit the webinar's resource page and look for Clearinghouse Review’s 2012 special issue on hunger and food insecurity, which will be available online in October. In the special issue, prominent experts on the impact of hunger on low-income Americans will inform advocates about the landscape of food insecurity in America. The issue will contain articles appealing to practitioners from all different backgrounds and regions. Among other topics, our authors will focus on:
- SNAP-related issues, such as effective intake and recertification.
- Using food banks effectively.
- The failures of institutional food.
- Incorporating the international right to food into domestic practice.
- The impact of climate change on low-income Americans’ ability to access food.
- Low-income seniors and access to food.
- The Farm Bill’s potential to strengthen food systems.
The special issue is being supported by AARP Foundation and the Francis Beidler Foundation.