USDA Extends Critical School Lunch Waivers, but More is Needed

Hannah Yang is a law student at NYU School of Law and guest contributor on this blog.  The USDA Food and Nutrition Service’s mission is “to increase food security and reduce hunger.” As part of its mission, it oversees the National School Lunch Program, which provides free or reduced lunch for eligible students while school is in session. The Summer…

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New FBLE Backgrounder: COVID-19 Response & Farm Bill Policy

The COVID-19 pandemic has presented a number of new and difficult challenges for families, farmers and other small business owners, and food producers across the country. While closures of schools, restaurants, and hotels help slow the rapid spread of infection, they have also resulted in surges in unemployment and food insecurity. Moreover, these closures cut farmers off from key markets…

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House SCCC Report Includes Major Agriculture Policy and Food Waste Reduction Recommendations

This blogpost is cross-posted from the HLS Food Law & Policy Clinic Blog. Original version here. In June 2020, the House Select Committee on the Climate Crisis (Select Committee) released Solving the Climate Crisis, a comprehensive set of recommendations to confront climate change and resulting economic and racial inequities. Created in January 2019 by House Resolution 6, the bipartisan Select Committee spent…

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Expanding Support for Local and Regional Food Systems in COVID-19 Response

Originally published at the Harvard Law School Center for Health Law & Policy, Food Law & Policy Blog. As the response to coronavirus continues and states increase or extend stay-at-home orders or advisories, the local food system is in a precarious position. The CARES Act stimulus explicitly includes the local food system in a new $9.5 billion disaster relief program. But…

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New Horizons for the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program in Disasters and Pandemics (D-SNAP & P-SNAP)

While it’s currently a challenge not to keep up with the latest developments on COVID-19, you might not know that states have been tirelessly submitting requests to the federal government for major disaster declarations. At the time of this writing, New York, California, Washington, Louisiana, Iowa, New Jersey, Georgia, Oregon, Connecticut, Kentucky, South Carolina, Missouri, Maryland, Illinois, Florida, Texas, Colorado,…

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Actions for Congress and USDA to Support Local and Regional Food Systems During COVID-19

Originally published at the Harvard Law School Center for Health Law & Policy, Food Law & Policy Blog. As social distancing measures close schools and public gatherings nationwide, farmers markets closures reveal a difficult reality for a particularly vulnerable segment of the food system: local and regional farmers and ranchers. Estimates indicate that direct-to-consumer markets and institutional purchases, such as…

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Student Series: The Farm Workforce Modernization Act Proposal

Note: This post summarizes the Farm Workforce Modernization Act, but does not comprehensively outline the terms of its provisions. This summary does not constitute legal advice and should not be relied upon for determining one’s eligibility for the certification described herein. The proposed Act has not been signed into law. On Wednesday, December 11, 2019, the House passed a bipartisan…

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Student Series: Investigation into USDA’s Handling of Climate Research

The USDA has come under scrutiny recently over whether the agency withheld various climate change reports from the public. On September 19, 2019, Senate Democrats released a report (the DPCC report) citing more than 1,400 climate studies from USDA that the agency failed to publicize. According to the report, the USDA did not issue announcements or press releases on more…

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Student Series: The USDA’s Interim Rule for Hemp Regulation

The USDA recently released its interim final rule regulating the production of hemp. Hemp, a resurging commodity, has recently found its way back into the hearts of Americans and has a wide variety of uses. Hemp is a cannabis plant that can be found in fabric, paper, construction materials, food products, cosmetics, the production of cannabinoids such as cannabidiol (CBD), and…

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Student Series: FDA Approves Genetically Modified Cotton for Human Consumption

If asked to imagine “cotton,” most people would envision the fluffy, white bulbs that are turned into fibers to create clothing. Cotton is seen as a material used to create physical items for human use, not consumption. In the United States alone, 9.6 billion pounds of cotton, valued at $7 billion, are produced a year. Cotton is grown in nearly eighty…

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