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radioheid
Consider This: (The SNAP/"Food Stamp" Program)
October 9, 2012 at 10:15 AM

 It seems you can't log on to a news or social networking site these days without seeing a post about obesity, the healthcare crisis, welfare spending or complaints about schools' food restrictions (as they relate to obesity).

If the food stamp program operates through the Department of Agriculture, why aren't we giving food stamp recipients farm foods? Cartons of eggs, baskets of fruits and vegetables, fresh cuts of meat, blocks of cheese, gallons of milk, beans and nuts, jars of honey, etc? I realize some states have programs that allow food stamp recipients to use local farmers markets, but I think it would help the American people---the food stamp recipient, the taxpayer and the American farmer---much more if food stamps became food stamps again, something people use to buy healthy, American farm-raised food.

I don't think people would complain about food stamps if they could see the program's benefits. Instead, we're reminded that over 40 million Americans use food stamps while our farms are dwindling and obesity rates are rising, and meanwhile many food stamp recipients load up their carts with processed junk. When people are made to use their own money to buy junk food, they buy less of it. Nobody wll be telling people what they can and cannot eat, only that a program funded by the American taxpayer should be one that benefits all of American society. With the money a person earns, said person should be able to spend at his or her discretion.

Thoughts?

Replies

  • romalove
    October 9, 2012 at 10:17 AM

     I have said for years that the program is handled incorrectly.  We pay farmers not to grow crops on some fields, farmers dump excess milk to keep prices up, and we have people hungry enough that we have to support them with SNAP programs.  I think they should be given vouchers for specific foods, at least as part of their stipend, such as milk, cheese, etc., and have the farmers who are dumping milk or not growing be paid to grow and use those items for low income hungry people.

  • krysstizzle
    October 9, 2012 at 10:20 AM

    That's probably a great idea. But the crap food that everyone (including SNAP recipients) is eating is made of stuff that is hugely and highly subsidized by the government, hence why crap processed food is so cheap. 

    It would be awesome if something like the OP is implemented. The problem is lack of growers. Seriously. It's a huge risk for farmers to grow produce, because the subsidies aren't there, and they're not sure of the market. It's a 'chicken or egg' thing. Markets won't commit to buying local produce because they're not sure of the supply, quality, etc; growers won't commit to growing because they're not sure if the markets are there. I think subsidies would go a long way in helping with that situation. Right now, it's so much easier for farmers to grow a few acres of cotton, say, so they do.


  • ReginaStar
    October 9, 2012 at 10:28 AM

    I don't think Foods stamps recipients food should be controlled but I do think they should have the option of buying from farmers. 

  • radioheid
    October 9, 2012 at 10:30 AM

     I hear ya. But under a program I've described, the government would pay the farmers for a certain percentage of their yield, which would then be used for the program. Problem solved. I'm sure it would take 5 years or so to work out the kinks, but in the long run, farmers are being supported, and food stamp recipients are eating healthier (at least theoretically). I grew up very poor; it is entirely too tempting to buy the frozen pizza or bag of frozen battered chicken parts (known as "nuggets") when you're working on a tight budget. If the old system is replaced with one that allows so many pounds of veggies, meat, etc per month, folks end up eating better AND it saves our farmers.

    Quoting krysstizzle:

    That's probably a great idea. But the crap food that everyone (including SNAP recipients) is eating is made of stuff that is hugely and highly subsidized by the government, hence why crap processed food is so cheap. 

    It would be awesome if something like the OP is implemented. The problem is lack of growers. Seriously. It's a huge risk for farmers to grow produce, because the subsidies aren't there, and they're not sure of the market. It's a 'chicken or egg' thing. Markets won't commit to buying local produce because they're not sure of the supply, quality, etc; growers won't commit to growing because they're not sure if the markets are there. I think subsidies would go a long way in helping with that situation. Right now, it's so much easier for farmers to grow a few acres of cotton, say, so they do.

     

     

  • radioheid
    October 9, 2012 at 10:32 AM

     Why not? Why wouldn't the government want to ensure that the program is being used for its intended purpose, which is to ensure adequate nutrition for the poor? This would have the added benefit of not only feeding the poor nutritious food, but helping the American farmer. I see it as win-win.

    Quoting ReginaStar:

    I don't think Foods stamps recipients food should be controlled but I do think they should have the option of buying from farmers. 

     

  • UpSheRises
    October 9, 2012 at 10:33 AM

    They can use SNAP benefits to shop at farmers markets if they choose to.

  • meriana
    by meriana
    October 9, 2012 at 10:34 AM

    That;s a great idea but I think it would be difficult to implement. Food stamp recipients shop at their local stores where people are basically bombarded with aisle upon aisle of processed foods, candy, chips, soda, etc. etc. The only way I can see something like that really working would be to set up specific stores where they can only purchase the kind of items mentioned in the OP and make it so other stores couldn't accept the food stamps.

    Then, of course, there would have to be enough of them in enough locations that people could get to them easily with or without a vehicle. The regular grocery stores, of course, would be having a fit too. We'd be hearing tons of screaming about how the Gov is forcing people to shop in certain places, limiting their freedom and deciding for them what they can and cannot eat or purchase.

  • krysstizzle
    October 9, 2012 at 10:35 AM

    Not all. The market has to purchase special equipment and pay for a system to accept SNAP. Which means they first have to have the money, which, although admittedly is not a huge amount, is a lot for a farmers' market. In fact, it's actually more difficult than it needs to be to get SNAP accepted at fm's. 

    Quoting UpSheRises:

    They can use SNAP benefits to shop at farmers markets if they choose to.


  • ReginaStar
    October 9, 2012 at 10:38 AM


    Quoting radioheid:

     Why not? Why wouldn't the government want to ensure that the program is being used for its intended purpose, which is to ensure adequate nutrition for the poor? This would have the added benefit of not only feeding the poor nutritious food, but helping the American farmer. I see it as win-win.

    Quoting ReginaStar:

    I don't think Foods stamps recipients food should be controlled but I do think they should have the option of buying from farmers. 

     

    Is your question is to why I don't think the recipients should be forced to buy certain products? B/c I think that is BS that is why. Different people have different diets and taste and should be able to choose what they want to eat even if it's food provided for by the government. Forcing certain foods only leads to a major waste in food. You also have to consider produce has a very short life span and people on assistance are the least likely to be able to get to the store often. 

  • ButterMeUp
    October 9, 2012 at 10:38 AM

    Take a step back and think about WHY people in general will pick starchy processed foods over making their own. 


    For many, it's too time consuming. Why make my own chips when I can just buy a bag. Sure the ones I make would most likely be half of the fat, salts, and preservatives but it only takes me 5 second to rip open a bag vs. 20 minutes to make my own. 

    For many it's hard to make fresh home cooked meals. If you're a poor single mom who has two jobs with little time to rest, do you honestly think she is going to want to cook? What if she just doesn't have the time or the know how? Forcing her to buy fresh things without first knocking down her road blocks is pointless. 

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