Food access in D.C.: Q&A with Ashanté Reese

In her new book, “Black Food Geographies: Race, Self-Reliance, and Food Access in Washington, D.C.,” Ashanté M. Reese, an assistant professor of anthropology at Spelman College, uses Deanwood, a predominately black neighborhood in D.C., as a lens to examine the broader obstacles to food access and opportunity facing black communities as well as how a narrative of self-reliance has both boosted and hindered fundamental changes in the food system.(No paywall)

New York taps controversial bonus program to preserve SNAP at farmers markets

New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo's plan to ensure farmers markets can continue accepting SNAP benefits through the end of the market season relies on funding from a controversial federal program that rewards states for implementing SNAP with low error rates—and that lawmakers may eliminate in the next farm bill. (No paywall)

A contract is rebid, and 40 percent of SNAP sales at farmers markets are up in the air

Earlier this year, when the USDA changed the vendor that runs its program that allows farmers markets to take SNAP benefits, it set off a chain reaction that could soon prevent thousands of poor people from using those benefits at the markets, reports FERN’s latest piece, published with The Washington Post. No paywall

Homes or gardens? Tension rises between developers and urban farmers.

In recent years, vacant land in cities across the country has been colonized by community gardens, giving the often-poor residents access to fresh produce. Now, though, developers of affordable housing are targeting those same empty lots, putting them at odds with the gardeners in communities that need both housing and fresh food, reports FERN's latest story, published with NPR's The Salt. No paywall

To get food stamps, applicants navigate a maze of paperwork

It's far from simple to qualify for food stamps, says Harvest Public Media in the first story of a five-part series this week on SNAP. Most states allow people to apply online as well as by paper applications. For Iowa and Missouri, the printed form runs six pages, but it's 17 pages in Kansas.

Conaway plans ‘meaningful reforms’ to food stamps

Everything will be on the table when the House Agriculture Committee reviews the $70 billion-a-year food stamp program as part of writing the 2018 farm bill, said chairman Michael Conaway. "We will propose meaningful reforms to SNAP," said Conaway, using the abbreviation for the program's formal name, the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program.

Stores in food-stamp program will have to carry wider variety of healthy foods

In a step to mollify Capitol Hill, the USDA said that stores participating in the food-stamp program will have to stock a wider and deeper variety of healthy foods than they do now — but only half as many as it originally proposed. And USDA relented for the most part on a provision that would have barred retailers that sell a lot of hot food.

Study: countries should tax all foods based on climate impact

As several cities in the U.S. prepare to vote on soda taxes, researchers say that taxing more of our foods based on their climate impact would do a lot to help the planet and our health, says The Guardian. A 40-percent surcharge on beef, for instance, would produce a 13-percent decline in consumption, according to the study, published in the journal Nature Climate Change.

Whole Foods and Starbucks open in one of Chicago’s toughest neighborhoods

Whole Foods and Starbucks are opening locations in Chicago’s crime-ridden Englewood neighborhood as part of a $20-million project to bring better services and products to the area. “The typically upscale Whole Foods will occupy an 18,000-square-foot store in the newly constructed Englewood Square shopping complex during a notably violent year in the neighborhood, one of the city’s poorest — it served as the setting for Spike Lee’s controversial “Chiraq” movie, and median household income is under $20,000, according to Census data,” says MarketWatch.

Meal-kit company finds new sales outlet – the supermarket

Purple Carrot, a vegan meal-kit company based in Boston, now sells its boxes of pre-measured ingredients in local Whole Foods stores, says the Boston Globe — a twist from the meal-kit model of shipping food and recipes to a subscriber's home. "After realizing they're literally getting their lunch stolen by these startups, they [grocers] have begun to look for ways to tap into the public's interest in the trend," the newspaper says.