Jews vs. The Farm Bill

The issue inspiring the latest Jewish political movement won’t surprise readers of this blog—but it might cause some head scratching among the rest of the Jewish community. It isn’t Israel or the 99%. Nope, it’s… the U.S. Farm Bill!

While it may seem like an unlikely target for a swell of Jewish activism, the Farm Bill—which dictates U.S. law on everything from agriculture to food stamps to biofuels—is packed with policies that go against the grain of Jewish ethics. The bill is up for debate and reauthorization this year, and six Jewish organizations are seizing the opportunity to call for reforms that they feel will go a long way toward achieving their Torah-inspired visions of food justice. Even though they’re each tackling a different aspect of the bill, they’ve recently joined forces to maximize their power and mobilize their constituents toward a common goal.

The “Jewish Working Group for a Just Farm Bill”— comprised of American Jewish World Service, Coalition on the Environment and Jewish Life, Hazon, Jewish Council for Public Affairs, Mazon and the Union for Reform Judaism—has collected nearly 15,000 signatures so far on its Jewish Petition for a Just Farm Bill, which presents a Jewish voice in Congress’s upcoming ‘food fight’:

Behind this lofty language, each organization is fired up by a specific issue that it’ll be pushing on the Hill when hearings begin in February, from reforming food aid to increasing food stamp benefits to stopping industrial farming practices that are polluting the earth.

Here’s what they have to say:

Wherever your passions lie, you can learn more about how to add your voice to this campaign by attending The Farm Bill and You, an event on January 30th in New York City hosted by Pursue: Action for a Just World and co-sponsored by AJWS Global Circle, Food & Water Watch, Hazon and Jewish Farm School. The Jewish Farm Bill reformers need your help to convince Congress that food justice is a Jewish issue!

Leah Kaplan Robins is Senior Writer and Editor at American Jewish World Service, an international development organization inspired by Judaism’s commitment to justice.

Jews vs. The Farm Bill

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