California’s Ag Vision, a collaborative effort to plan for the future of agriculture, enjoyed two big wins last week when Governor Brown signed a pair of bills to improve food security and support for working families.
One of Ag Vision’s top priorities is to improve access to safe and healthy food for all Californians. With that in mind, agriculture, public health and food bank groups joined hands to support the bills, both of which were authored by Assembly member Felipe Fuentes of Southern California’s San Fernando Valley.
AB 6 eliminates the use of finger imaging for CalFresh (formerly the food stamp program), which the USDA estimates will increase participation in California by seven percent. The result will be millions of additional federal dollars flowing into our state for food purchases while stimulating the state’s economy.
AB 152 will make more healthy food available to low-income Californians and create a state infrastructure for the purchase and distribution of healthy food to low-income communities. The law creates a tax credit for California growers to help defray the costs of donating healthy agricultural products to California food banks. AB 152 will leverage millions of pounds of food for those in need.
The California State Board of Food and Agriculture, a founding partner in Ag Vision, has committed to doubling California farm contributions to food banks within the next five years.
Sue Sigler is executive director of the California Association of Food Banks. Kerry Tucker is a member of the State Board of Food and Agriculture. Sigler and Tucker co-chair the food access subcommittee of Ag Vision.