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Wrap Up of the Farm to Capitol: Growing a Healthy and Equitable Texas Food System

On April 29th, the Texas Food Policy Roundtable (TFPR) hosted Farm to Capitol: Growing a Healthy and Equitable Texas Food System. At this event, legislators, advocates, and organizations that are working to implement good food policy attended a legislative briefing and an open house with these organizations.

Opening the event, Suzii Payntor with the Texas Christian Life Commission described the need for good food policy and the history of TFPR. She explained that Texas is at or near the top in loss of farmland, family food insecurity, obesity rates among children and adults, and has the fewest supermarkets per capita.

Kathy Golson with the Capitol Area Food Bank then described TFPR’s four areas of food policy:

  • Improving access to the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP; formerly known as Food Stamps) to prevent hunger and help Texas families afford a nutritious diet;
  • Increasing participation in the Summer Nutrition Programs so that children in Texas continue to learn and grow when school is out;
  • Promoting policy solutions to increase nutrition, reduce and prevent obesity; and
  • Creating a local, sustainable, and accessible food system for all Texans.

Legislators then described specific bills that they are working on that advance TFPR’s four focuses. Senator Lucio, Representative Hughes, Representative Veasey, and Representative Rodriguez all spent time describing their efforts in creating a food secure Texas. Additionally Health and Human Commissioner Suehs and the Texas Department of Agriculture Assistant Commissioner for Food and Nutrition Olige both spoke about their departments’ programs and work implementing food policies already in place.

After the legislative briefing, organizations such as the Texas Food Bank Network, CitySquare of Dallas, AgriLife Extension, the Texas Hunger Initiative, Texas Health Institute, and many local farmers were present to describe their organizations to legislators and their staff.