Come and Sit at the FOOD REVOLUTION TABLE!


April 2015 Newsletter
Number 16
Table of Contents
Get our March 2015 Newsletter
Get our January 2015 Newsletter
Go to our TV Channel
Watch for the new Food Documentary, The Need To Grow
Celebrate EARTH DAY 2015
Make a Pledge for Meatless Monday
Grow Your Own Veggies in a Food Forever Growing System
Introducing Garvin’s Greens Geodesic Domes and Hoop Houses
Watch Planet Earth on Earth Day

A Word From Our Editor, Grace Sylke
Once again important and timely topics have usurped Part 2 of our new Series on “Obesity in America”. We promise, it’s coming soon.
We just had to acknowledge EARTH DAY and the FOOD REVOLUTION Summit, which are both happening this month.
Quick Links
 

Get Links to all of our 2014 Newsletters from our
Here they are all in one place. Our first year of News-letters full of incredible information about Aquaponics and our Food System.

Here’s our March Newsletter in case it was missed.
This is an informative look at all of the Food related Programs that we are running in the U.S. including who these programs serve and the costs of those services.

Here’s ourFebruary Newsletter in case it was missed.
This Newsletter is all about our enclosed growing and fish raising areas, which include our Growroom and Fishroom featuring our latest evolution in Seed Germination, the SIT (Seed Incubation Table).

Here’s ourJanuary Newsletter in case it was missed.
This Newsletter features our latest change in the Greenhouse and it’s a real innovation. Our retired aerospace engineer turned Aquaponics Systems Designer, Oliver Duffy, just keeps improving his designs never being satisfied to settle for almost great and certainly never following the pack. See what he’s up to now in this informative Newsletter.

Catch all 4 Parts of Grace’s Series on the FOOD REVOLUTION in the
The Aquaponics Digest Magazinefeatures an advanced digital magazine, publishing and marketing platform for the 21st century; and it’s just getting started.
Click on the above Link to learn how/where to get the Ap for your iPhone and iPad.
Aquaponics Digest Magazine is a must read for any and all Aquaponics enthusiasts.
It features articles by the field’s leaders like:
Sylvia Bernstein
Aaron Woolf
Glenn Martinez and our own,
Grace Sylke.

Check Out Our
We have several Videos on How To Do Aquaponics including two on installing our Food Forever Growing Systems in two schools in Tucson, AZ.

Don’t Miss OurPinterest Wall
It’s full of original Art by our Editor including all of the Pixton Cartoons she created for this Newsletter.

Watch for the new Food Documentary,THE NEED TO GROW
It’s still in production but coming out soon. It features famous food activists like Jeffery Smith, Vandana Shiva and we’re in it. Click the Link and Check Out the Trailer.
This is your Invitation to come and sit at the 
FOOD REVOLUTION Table!

 

Dear Subscriber:
 
This Revolution is being waged by a group of incredible Revolutionaries who are biting down on the greatest threat to the well being of our country that has ever surfaced. They are gritting their teeth and going into the fray with everything they’ve got because they see no other way to keep our once great nation and our tough, individualistic point of view alive and well.
We’ve just declared April to be FOOD REVOLUTION Month in honor of the FOOD REVOLUTION Summitthat goes from April 25- May 3, 2015.
We don’t like being the bearer of bad news; but the truth is WE ARE AT WAR! It’s a war for our right to eat healthy, nutritious food that is not laden with pesticides, petrochemicals and GMO’s. It’s a war for our health, our lives and the health and lives of our children and grandchildren. And the sad truth is, WE ARE LOSING; and this loss is measured in lost lives.
According to an article on the Mercola.com website, “One in Five American Deaths [are] Now Associated with Obesity”. The article goes on to say that:
  • Obesity-related deaths include those from type 2 diabetes, hypertension, heart disease, liver disease, cancer, dementia, and depression because nearly all have metabolic dysfunction as a common underlying factor
  • The only effective way to reverse these trends is to make changes in your diet and lifestyle; drugs are definitely not the answer
(Note: This is one statistic taken from Part 2 of the Series on Obesity in America, which is coming in May)

 

Here comes the 4th Annual FOOD REVOLUTION Summit sponsored by John and Ocean Robbins who are Co-Fouders of the FOOD REVOLUTION Network and the Annual Summit.
This On-Line Information packed Summit is absolutely FREE to Attend so don’t miss the interviews with three of the world’s top healthy food activists, Jeffrey Smith, Michael Pollan and Vandana Shiva. You can also hear from food savy doctors like Neal Barnard, MD, and Joel Fuhrman, MD; and don’t miss Tony Robbins  and Paul McCartney talk about how healthy eating works for them in their busy lives.
If you missed our own informative 4 Part Series on the FOOD REVOLUTION, you can read it now by clicking over to our December 2014 Newsletter with Links to all of our 2014 Newsletters.

It’s BAAACK! EARTH DAY, 2015

Earth Day is almost here again (unless you’ve already made every day Earth Day), which is highly recommended. In honor of this Day, we decided to give you a little history about this special day of acknowledgement for our beautiful little blue home in the Milky Way Galazy.
Earth Day has grown up over the years since it was first inaugurated in the U.S. in 1970. Today, it has an entire Network of workers behind it called the Earth Day Network. Back in 1970, Earth Day was the brain child of a U.S. Senator from Wisconsin, Gaylord Nelson, (June 1916-July 2005) who lived to be 89.
Gaylord Nelson conceived of the idea for Earth Day”after witnessing the ravages of the 1969 massive oil spill in Santa Barbara, California. Inspired by the student anti-war movement, he realized that if he could infuse that energy with an emerging public consciousness about air and water pollution, it would force environmental protection onto the national political agenda. Senator Nelson announced the idea for a ‘national teach-in on the environment’ to the national media; persuaded Pete McCloskey, a conservation-minded Republican Congressman, to serve as his co-chair; and recruited Denis Hayes, [an environmental activist] as national coordinator. Hayes built a national staff of 85 to promote events across the land. 

As a result, on the 22nd of April, 20 million Americans took to the streets, parks, and auditoriums to demonstrate for a healthy, sustainable environment in massive coast-to-coast rallies. Thousands of colleges and universities organized protests against the deterioration of the environment. Groups that had been fighting against oil spills, polluting factories and power plants, raw sewage, toxic dumps, pesticides, freeways, the loss of wilderness, and the extinction of wildlife suddenly realized they shared common values.

 

Earth Day 1970 achieved a rare political alignment, enlisting support from Republicans and Democrats, rich and poor, city slickers and farmers, tycoons and labor leaders. The first Earth Day led to the creation of the United States Environmental Protection Agency and the passage of the Clean Air, Clean Water, and Endangered Species Acts.

 

‘It was a gamble,’ Gaylord recalled, ‘but it worked.’ ” (Quote taken from the Earth Day Network website:History of a Movement)

To learn more about Gaylord and the Earth Day story go to Gaylord Nelson, Earth Day, the making of the modern environmental movement.

 

As mentioned above, Gaylord didn’t achieve this monumental feat alone. He teamed up with Denis Hayes, a young environmental activist, and together they launched that first 1970 Earth Day which became what is now the mother of many organizations and spin-off movements.

Together this dynamic duo along with a group of environmental leaders turned a U.S focused Earth Day into a worldwide event in 1990 “mobilizing 200 million people in 141 countries and lifting environmental issues onto the world stage. Earth Day 1990 gave a huge boost to recycling efforts worldwide and helped pave the way for the 1992 United Nations Earth Summit in Rio de Janeiro. It also prompted President Bill Clinton to award Senator Nelson the Presidential Medal of Freedom (1995) — the highest honor given to civilians in the United States — for his role as Earth Day founder”. (Quote taken from the Earth Day Network website: History of a Movement)

Denis Hayes went on to found the Earth Day Network and was named a Time magazine hero of the planet in 1999, shortly before he coordinated Earth Day 2000, the biggest Earth Day to that date. Hayes presently works at The Bullitt Foundation where he has served as President since 1992.

 

His newest book, COWED, was published this year, 2015, and is a treatise on “The Hidden Impact of 93 Million Cows on America’s Health, Economy, Politics, Culture and Environment”. It’s a must read.

To learn more about the history of Earth Day and one of its coordinators, Denis Hayes, go to an article by theDaily Kos.
If you happened to attend or witness Earth Day Celebrations over the weekend of April 18th and 19th, then you realize that it’s often celebrated on the weekend before or after the officially designated day, which is April 22nd. Some communities even celebrate all of April as Earth Month. This is a Day that has become so important it appears to have been placed on a sliding scale for celebratory purposes. There’s even a term called “Earth Overshoot Day” describing events happening after the official Earth Day.
And now there are a number of spin-off Movements associated with and promoted by The Earth Day Network including:
A BILLION ACTS OF GREEN: This is an International movement to protect the Planet and secure a sustainable future; and it’s being accomplished by ordinary people doing simple things like showering together to save water or by supporting and joining the many Sub-projects, Petitions, Pledges and Actions under The Billion Acts of Green umbrella including:
The Canopy Project: “The Canopy Project plants trees that help communities – especially the world’s impoverished communities – sustain themselves and their local economies. Trees reverse the impacts of land degradation and provide food, energy and income, helping communities to achieve long-term economic and environmental sustainability. Trees also filter the air and help stave off the effects of climate change.” (Quote taken from the above Link)
The Climate Petition To Save The Planet: You can join the largest Climate Petition to save the world right here.
Support Environmental Education: “As of right now, the 2015 budget includes no funding for the National Environmental Education Act; important EPA grants; the NOAA (National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s) Bay-Watershed Edu-cation and Training Program and Environmental Literacy Grants; or the University Sustainability Program, among others.” There’s an easy form to fill out on this page to send this important message to your members of Congress. (Quote taken from above Link)
Use Less Energy: Save Money and the Environment! Did you know “the average American household spends more on home energy bills and gasoline than health care or property taxes”? Go to this page to “receive tailored tips for reducing your home energy use and see if you’re a good candidate for solar without having to call a solar installer”. (Quotes taken from the above Link)
Art and our Ecological Footprint: A Call for Submissions to “Footing the Bill”: “This is an invitational crowd-sourced exhibition of artwork addressing the urgent need to live sustainably within the Earth’s finite resources. Art Works For Change, along with Earth Day Network and Global Footprint Network, invite you to join the conversation on ecological overshoot. Submit a digital image of your original artwork (all visual mediums are welcome) for an opportunity to be featured in our online exhibition, which will open on Earth Overshoot Day 2015  in August.” (Quote taken from above Link)
More Actions and Pledges: This page lists a number of other Actions and Pledges you can take to become a part of The Billion Acts Of Green Movement.

Join the MEATLESS MONDAYS MOVEMENT!

Here’s one more project under the A BILLION ACTS OF GREEN Umbrella-it’s the Meatless Mondays Movement. Did you know that “producing one calorie of meat requires nearly twenty times the amount of energy as one plant calorie?” (Quote taken from below Link)
Join the millions who have taken the pledge to not eat meat one day a week and become a part of the Meatless Mondays Movement!

Grow Your Own Veggies in an Aquaponics USA Food Forever Growing System.

If you’re going to start eating less meat and more veggies, why not grow your own in an Aquaponics Food Growing System?
These Food Forever Growing Systems will grow food in enclosed areas using Grow Lights or in Greenhouses using the sun. This is one of our five tanks in our enclosed Fishroom where we’re raising about 150 Tilapia. These incredibly easy to raise food fish are fertilizing our 30’x8′ Greenhouse and our 30’x8′ Growroom where we are growing major amounts of lettuce, tomatoes, basil and other veggies.
Above is our Greenhouse growing 3 kinds of Lettuce. We’ve shown this photo before; but it’s worth repeating. Below is our Growroom growing lettuce underInduction Lights.
Sitting on the fish tank in the first image above is ourAutomatic Fish Feeder, which is the single most important item that makes raising our fish so easy and almost maintenance free.

Looking for a Geodesic Dome Greenhouse for your AP System? Introducing 

Kenny Garvin Jr. is the Owner/Operator of this growing Art of Backyard Growing Company that features custom built Geodesic Dome Greenhouses in a range of sizes. He also offers some of the most durable, wind resistant Hoop Houses you will ever see.
We recently had the pleasure of spending a few hours with him and his family at his company’s pristine location up in the White Mountains of Arizona where he showed us his nearly complete Demo Model of a 32′ Geodesic Dome Greenhouse sitting next to a 10′ Model.
Kenny uses an amazing new Greenhouse Plastic Film that has been popular in Europe for years; but has just become available in the U.S.
It’s called Polydress SolaWrap (with bubbles). “Known in Europe as LP Keder or Polydress, Polydress SolaWrap is now available in  U. S markets.  It’s an insulated film that withstands the most extreme climates.  SolaWrap has a track record for over 40 years of testing in the Swiss Alps, the Middle East, and across Europe. SolaWrap provides an insulating effect that retains up to 95% of heat radiation while providing an R-value of 1.7. This energy savings is significant!” (Quote taken from the above page)
This picture shows the massive amount of space available in his Geodesic Domes that range from  10′ up to 44′. Aquaponics Farmers would definitely want to take full advantage of the Vertical space in the larger models. These Domes are all custom built by a builder who has over 20 years of customer service experience.
His Hoop Houses are about as sturdy, steadfast and durable as a Hoop House could ever be. In his location, winds get up to 60 miles an hour on a regular basis so he had to design a Hoop House that was going to stay put and intact.
And that’s exactly what this Hoop House will do. There is nothing flimsy about this reinforced iron, foam wrapped Hoop House design.
Here Oliver, Kenny and little Kenny are testing out the sturdiness of this amazing Hoop House; and it doesn’t budge.
Kenny’s goal is to provide the people he serves with a healthier more self sufficient lifestyle while making them happy, life-long customers.
To Order your custom built Geodesic Dome or Made For the Wind Hoop House, just give Kenny at Garvin’s Greens a call: 928-2400-421or email him at:
kennygarvin@garvinsgreens.com
Tell him Grace & Oliver sent you.

Watch the BBC Documentary, Planet Earth Episode 1 From Pole to Pole 

Planet Earth Episode 1 From Pole to Pole - BBC Documentary
Planet Earth Episode 1 From Pole to Pole – BBC Documentary
In honor of our up-coming Earth Day, we wanted to share this incredible documentary from 2006. This is the first of 11 Episodes of awesome beauty. Five years in the making, it was the most expensive nature documentary series ever commissioned by the BBC and also the first to be filmed in  high definition. To see more Episodes, just go to Planet Earth on You Tube.
Thank you for following our Newsletters. We love bringing them to you month after month. Please remember to Forward this email to friends and family who are ready to learn and change the way we grow our food  and distribute our food. We are what we eat. Let’s turn the tables around and become the healthiest society on the planet.
 
Sustainably,
Aquaponics USA/World
This is a reprint of our April Newsletter. If you would like to Subscribe to our Newsletters and get them in your mailbox, just go to our Home Page at http://www.aquaponicsusa.com and scroll down to our Subscription Section. We would love to have you join the growing group of food and health minded people who are ready to change our Food System.

 

March is National Nutrition Month! So Let’s Talk About How the USDA is providing Nutrition to our population.


March Newsletter Cover 2

March is our National Nutrition Month; but, unfortunately, most of us don’t know it. We have to confess that until we started writing this Blog post, we didn’t realize it either; and we’re in the nutritious food business.

Because it’s National Nutrition Month, we’re once again post-poning our Series on “Obesity in America” to celebrate and inform our readers about all of the Food related Programs that we are running in the U.S. including who these programs serve and the costs of those services.

But before we go there, we want to point out our original cartoons by our Marketing Director, Grace Sylke who is loving her new Pixton.com software. If you want to see them bigger or share them, go to our Pinterest Page.

Here is one of the Best National Programs we’ve got going; and it needs your Support.

FARM to SCHOOL

farm-to-school-logo

“Farm to School is a program in the United States through which schools buy and feature locally produced, farm-fresh foods such as fruits and vegetables, eggs, honey, meat, and beans on their menus. Schools also incorporate nutrition-based curriculum and provide students with experiential learning opportunities such as farm visits, gardening, and recycling programs. As a result of Farm to School, students have access to fresh, local foods, and farmers have access to new markets through school sales. Farmers are also able to participate in programs designed to educate kids about local food and agriculture.”
(Quote taken from Wikipedia)

This program started in 1996, and was fueled by “the desire to support community-based food systems, strengthen family farms and improve student health by reducing childhood obesity”. (Wikipedia) The plan was based on a triple win situation; and it was spearheaded with pilot projects in California through the Santa Monica-Malibu Unified School System and The Edible Schoolyard in Berkeley, which was created by the famous food activist, Alice Waters. (To learn more about Alice Waters, go to our Food Revolution Part 2 Series in our May 2014 Newsletter featuring the Revolutionaries)

This program is now almost 20 years old, and it’s still going strong. Below, are some statistics that describe how effective this program was in the 2011-2012 school year based on a Census taken in 2013. A second Census is being conducted this year.

FNS Main Story Infographic

In 2014, the USDA issued approximately $5 million in Farm to School Grants to help school districts across the country further develop their farm to school programming.

Support Farm to School

In 2010, the Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act was passed. It’s a Federal Statute that was signed into law by President Obama as part of the reauthorization of funding for child nutrition in the original Child Nutrition Act passed in 1966. The Farm to School Program is a Grant Program under the Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act. To learn more about the original act enacted in 1966, click the above link. During the signing of the original act, then president, Johnson, remarked that “good food is essential to good learning.”

The Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act funds child nutrition programs and free lunch programs in schools for 5 years and continues through 2015. In addition, the bill sets new nutrition standards for schools, and allocates $4.5 billion for their implementation. More on the Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act below.

The Farm to School Program is allocated a mere $5 million of the nearly $36 billion (that’s a “B” for billion) dollar child nutrition five year funding budget. They have partnered with the National Sustainable Agriculture Coalition to establish stronger Farm to School priorities in the 2015 reauthorization of the original Child Nutrition Act, and they are pushing for an additional $100 million in funding over the next decade.

If there were ever a program that deserves more funding, it’s this one because it’s so inclusive of both children, farmers and local communities. There are two bills representing this program. Click on the Bills to follow their progress. Both Bills were referred to Committee on February 25th, 2015.

S. 569 and H.R. 1061

Please communicate with your Senators and Congressional Representative to help get them passed.

Here’s another incredible National Program that warrants your support.

FEEDING AMERICA

Feeding America Logo

We first learned about FEEDING AMERICA when we went to Tucson, AZ in late 2011 to install three of our Aquaponics USA Food Forever Growing Systems in three elementary schools there.

We did an Interview with the Lead on that project, Zotero Citilacoatl who was the Youth Farm Project Manager for the Community Food Resource Center of the Community Food Bank of Southern Arizona. We were new in the field of food and agriculture, so we had no idea that the Southern Arizona Community Food Bank was being supported by FEEDING AMERICA until we did that interview.

In many ways, we are very beholden to FEEDING AMERICA because it was that organization that funded the Grant that purchased those first three Food Forever School Growing Systems that we sold. We are now selling most of our Growing Systems to schools all over the U.S. To learn more about our School Growing Systems, go to our webpage that describes our School Packages and Pricing structure.

FEEDNG AMERICA leads our nation in the fight against hunger through it’s nationwide network of Food Banks that feed more than 46 million people through food pantries, soup kitchens, shelters and other community-based agencies.

Food Bank

FEEDING AMERICA has had a long history and a different name. It all started with John van Hengel.

4c834319-704f-4502-b9e7-c9a57491ce9a

John lived from February 21,1923 until October 5, 2005; and after he took a vow of poverty as a devout Roman Catholic and started working at Immaculate Heart Church in Phoenix, Arizona in the late 60’s, he began to solicit unwanted food for the poor from grocery stores, local gardens and nearby produce farms. These efforts led to the creation of the first Food Bank in the world, which was located in Phoenix, Arizona and called the St. Mary’s Food Bank in 1967. “In addition he worked for many years as a consultant to U.S. cities starting their own food banks. He also traveled the world teaching other countries how to set up food banks which are now in operation throughout Europe and in many other countries, including Israel, Australia and Mexico.” (Quote taken from the Find A Gravewebsite)

In 1975, St. Mary’s was given a federal grant to assist in developing Food Banks across the nation. This organization became America’s Second Harvest with Mr. van Hengel in charge. America’s Second Harvest merged with Foodchain, another food distribution charity.

Then in May of 2007, the American Idol TV Program named America’s Second Harvest as the recipient of the Idol Gives Back Charity Program and the company was put on the map. They changed their name to FEEDING AMERICA in 2008. Since then, several high profile people and companies have adopted FEEDING AMERICA including Bob Dylan in 2009 with an announcement by Columbia Records that all U.S. royalties from his Christmas in the Heart album would go to FEEDING AMERICA in perpetuity.

Today, Tony Robbins, the well known motivational speaker, is supporting a 100 Million Meals Challenge, and he’s inviting us all to help match his gift of 50 million meals to FEEDING AMERICA so, together, we can provide 100 million meals for the 49 million Americans who struggle with hunger. When combined with Tony’s gift, every $1 you give helps secure and distribute 20 meals through the FEEDING AMERICA network of food banks.

If you’re being called to contribute, just go to FEEDING AMERICA and join Tony’s 100 Million Meals Challenge.

What’s happening with Nutrition in the USDA?

USDA

Our USDA is supporting a number of beneficial Nutritional Programs beyond the Farm to School Program. Some of these programs are serviced based on age and ethnicity. Others like the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) formerly known as Food Stamps, service a broad swath of our nation’s population. So let’s start with one of the children’s programs:

The Fresh Fruit and Vegetable Program (FFVP)

Fresh Fruit & Vegetable Program

“The Fresh Fruit and Vegetable Program (FFVP) was authorized by the Farm Security and Rural Investment Act of 2002. The pilot program began in 4 states and 1 Indian Tribal Organization (Zuni, New Mexico).

The purpose of the pilot was to determine the best practices for increasing fruit (both fresh and dried) and fresh vegetable consumption in schools.

As a result of the Program’s popularity, the Child Nutrition and WIC Reauthorization Act of 2004 (more on WIC below) added 4 more states (Pennsylvania, Mississippi, North Carolina, Washington), 10 schools in South Dakota’s Pine Ridge Reservation, and 8 schools in Arizona’s Tribal Council (3 schools in the Gila River Pima Community and 5 schools in the Tohono O’odham Community).

The Agriculture, Rural Development, Food and Drug Administration, and Related Agencies Appropriations Act of 2006, Public Law 109-97, appropriated money to expand the Fresh Fruit and Vegetable Program to include: Utah, Wisconsin, New Mexico (25 schools), Texas, Connecticut, and Idaho. The Farm Bill amended the National School Lunch Act by eliminating section 18(f) and adding section 19, the FFVP and provided significant changes from the previous program.

The Program is now Nation-wide in selected schools in all 50 states, the District of Columbia, Guam, Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands.” (Quote taken from USDA webpage on the Fresh Fruit and Vegetable Program )

Food Distribution Program on Indian Reservations

Food Distribution to Indian Rez

This is an idillic representation of an Indian Reservation with ceremonial teepees set up to honor the food. There are 310 Native American Reservations in the U.S. and typically, many of America’s poorest people reside in them. When we speak about 3rd World and Developing Countries, we are also speaking about these Sovereign Nations, which constitute 3rd World Countries within our borders. Thank goodness, there’s a program designed to pick up those Native Americans who do not have access to the larger, all inclusive Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program commonly known as (SNAP).

“Low-income American Indian and non-Indian households that reside on a reservation and households living in approved areas near a reservation or in Oklahoma that contain at least one person who is a member of a Federally-recognized tribe, are eligible to participate in FDPIR.

Households are certified based on income standards set by the Federal government and must be recertified at least every 12 months. Elderly and disabled households may be certified for up to 24 months. Households may not participate in FDPIR and SNAP in the same month.

The Food and Nutrition Service (FNS), an agency of the USDA, administers FDPIR at the Federal level. The program is administered locally by either Indian Tribal Organizations (ITOs) or an agency of a State government. Currently, there are approximately 276 tribes receiving benefits under FDPIR through 100 ITOs and 5 State agencies.” (Quote taken from USDA’s Food and Nutrition Service, Nutrition Program Fact Sheet)

The Meals on Wheels Program

Meals On Wheels #2

Without the Meals On Wheels Program many of our Senior Citizens would starve. “Meals on Wheels operates in virtually every community in America through a network of more than 5,000 independently-run local programs. While the diversity of each program’s services and operations may vary based on the needs and resources of their communities, they are all committed to supporting their senior neighbors to live healthier and more nourished lives in their own homes.

Meals On Wheels galvanizes the resources of local community organizations, businesses, donors, sponsors and more than two million volunteers – bolstered by supplemental funding from the Older Americans Act – into a national safety net for our seniors. Meals on Wheels ensures that seniors have access to adequate nutrition even when family support, mobility and resources are lacking.

For seniors who are mobile and attending Senior Centers and other gathering places, Meals On Wheels also delivers to many of those community gathering places.

This amazing service for our Seniors not only drops off daily nutritious meals, it offers seniors the opportunity to visit with a friendly, caring person who is also doing a safety check to mitigate against the risks of medical emergencies, falls and other accidents.

Meals On Wheels is partially supported by the Older Americans Act (OAA) of 1965, which was the first federal level initiative aimed at providing comprehensive services for older adults and was passed as part of Lyndon Johnson’s Great Society initiative.” (Quote taken from Meals On Wheels America)

Within the last two years, there has been a movement in Congress spearheaded by Senator Bernie Sanders to Reauthorize the OAA. Two Bills were created. Senate Bill S.1562: Older Americans Act Reauthorization Act of 2014 was not enacted in 2014 and the House of Representatives Bill, H.R. 4122, by the same name was referred to Committee on Feb. 28, 2014. This was the last action on the Bill.

Let’s show our support for Reauthorizing these two Bills and getting them passed in 2015 as our elder Boomers remain the largest segment of our population and will need more Meals On Wheels.

To follow these Bills, go to GovTrack.us.

Senior Farmers’ Market Nutrition Program (SFMNP)

Senior Farmers' Mkt. Nutrition Program

This is an interesting USDA Program focused on Seniors. It’s the Senior Farmers’ Market Nutrition Program (SFMNP).

“The Senior Farmers’ Market Nutrition Program (SFMNP) awards grants to States, U.S. Territories, and federally recognized Indian tribal governments to provide low-income seniors with coupons that can be exchanged for eligible foods (fruits, vegetables, honey, and fresh-cut herbs) at farmers’ markets, roadside stands, and community-supported agriculture programs.

The SFMNP is administered by State agencies such as the State Department of Agriculture or the Agency on Aging.

The purposes of the Senior Farmers’ Market Nutrition Program are to:

(1) Provide resources in the form of fresh, nutritious, unprepared, locally grown fruits, vegetables, honey and herbs from farmers’ markets, roadside stands and community supported agriculture programs to low-income seniors,
(2) Increase the domestic consumption of agricultural commodities by expanding or aiding in the expansion of domestic farmers’ markets, roadside stands, and community supported agriculture programs, and
(3) Develop or aid in the development of new and additional farmers’ markets, roadside stands, and community supported agriculture programs.” (Quote from USDA Overview of the Program)

Like Farm to School, this program benefits both the recipient of the vouchers as well as the sellers of the fruits, vegetables, honey and herbs. It’s another win/win program that supports everyone involved.

USDA Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP)

snap

No line up of USDA Food Assistance Programs would be complete without listing the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program now known as SNAP and formerly known as Food Stamps.

“SNAP offers nutrition assistance to millions of eligible, low-income individuals and families and provides economic benefits to communities. SNAP is the largest program in the domestic hunger safety net. The Food and Nutrition Service (FNS) works with State agencies, nutrition educators, and neighborhood and faith-based organizations to ensure that those eligible for nutrition assistance can make informed decisions about applying for the program and can access benefits. FNS also works with State partners and the retail community to improve program administration and ensure program integrity.” (Quote from the USDA website on SNAP )

As of the last count, which was October 2014, there were 46,674,364 Americans on SNAP, which constitutes 14.6 percent of the 318,857,056 people in our popu-lation. Households on food stamps got an average benefit of $261.44 during the month, and total benefits for the month cost taxpayers nearly $6 billion. That’s $6 billion per month, which would be $72 billion per year. (Statistics from an on-line publicly supported news website, CNS NEWS )

“Close to 70 percent of SNAP participants are in families with children; more than one-quarter are in households with seniors or people with disabilities.

After unemployment insurance, SNAP is the most responsive federal program providing additional assistance during economic downturns. It also is an important nutritional support for low-wage working families, low-income seniors, and people with disabilities living on fixed incomes.

The federal government pays the full cost of SNAP benefits and splits the cost of administering the program with the states, which operate the program.” (Quote taken from the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities)

Being the best known and the largest food assistance program out there, often places SNAP in the crossfires of criticism; and many believe it is being over used and under managed allowing for abuse and fraud. Nevertheless, this program has been and continues to be a god-send to many Americans in need of food assistance.

All About the Healthy Hunger-Free Kids Act

Healthy Hunger Free Kids Act

This Act was passed in 2010 as part of the reauthorization of funding for child nutrition (see the original Child Nutrition Act). It’s focal point is improving child nutrition; and it serves to set policy for the USDA’s core child nutrition programs including the:

National School Lunch Program (NSLP)
School Breakfast Program (SBP)
Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants and Children (WIC)
Summer Food Service Program (SFSP)
Child and Adult Care Food Program (CACFP)
Farm to School Grant Program
(Quote from USDA website School Meals, Healthy Hunger-Free Kids Act)

Except for the WIC Program and the Farm to School Grant Program, we are not going into detail regarding each of these programs. For more information, click on the above Links to see what each of these programs entails.

In March of 2010, “the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) estimated that implementing this bill would have discretionary costs of $35.9 billion over the 2011-2015 period, assuming appropriation of the necessary amounts.” Most of these costs are for the reauthorization of WIC, which received an appropriation of $7.3 billion in fiscal year 2010 and would, therefore, need at the very least 5 times that for the designated 5 year period of 2011-2015 period. (Quote taken from the Congressional Budget Office Cost Estimate dated March 24, 2010)

The Healthy Hunger-Free Kids Act has nothing to do with the SNAP Program and is a separate expenditure that is focused on children except in the case of Adult Care Facilities where Adults are being serviced.

That means that between the Healthy Hunger-Free Kids Act and the SNAP Program, the USDA is spending nearly $80 billion annually to provide nutrition for people in need.

The Women Infants and Children Program (WIC)

Women Infants and Children

“In 1974, WIC was established as a permanent program to safeguard the health of low-income women, infants and children up to the age of 5 who are at nutritional risk.

This mission is carried out by providing nutritious foods to supplement diets, nutrition education (including breastfeeding promotion and support), and referrals to health and other social services.

WIC benefits are not limited only to food. Participants have access to a number of resources, including health screening, nutrition and breastfeeding counseling, immunization screening and referral, substance abuse referral and more.” (Quote taken from USDA website page on the Women, Infants and Children (WIC) Program)

WIC recipients become eligible for this program based on their annual income and must fall at or below 185 percent of the U.S. Poverty Income Guidelines as of the revised guidelines effective from July 1, 2014 to June 30, 2015.(Information gleaned from the USDA website page on the Women, Infants and Children (WIC) Program)

There was a rather shocking group of statistics put out by the USDA in 2010 as part of their State-Level Estimates of Infants and Pre-School-Age Children at or Below 185 Percent of Poverty. These stats compare 2009 to 2010 and show that almost every state had rising numbers of children in this category. It appears that the recession that was triggered by the pop of the housing bubble in 2008 among other things has plunged more households at or below 185 percent of poverty.

“WIC is not an entitlement program as Congress does not set aside funds to allow every eligible individual to participate in the program. WIC is a Federal Grant Program for which Congress authorizes a specific amount of funds each year for the program. Based on the 2010 figure, WIC annual cost is around $7 billion; and it is the most costly program in the Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act Program Group.

WIC is:
1. Administered at the Federal level by FNS
2. Administered by 90 WIC state agencies, through approximately 47,000 authorized retailers.
3. WIC operates through 1,900 local agencies in 10,000 clinic sites, in 50 State health departments, 34 Indian Tribal Organizations, the District of Columbia, and five territories (Northern Mariana, American Samoa, Guam, Puerto Rico, and the Virgin Islands)”
(Quote taken from USDA website page Wic at a Glance)

Currently, WIC serves a staggering 53% of all infants born in the United States. This means that over half of the children born in the U.S. need Nutritional support by the government; and this is another example of how fragile our economy is post the 2008 crash.

In Conclusion:

Dinosaur with Hard Hat

In conclusion, we have to say that as we wrote this month’s Newsletter, we really learned a lot. We had no idea about how many different Nutrition Programs are being funded and how much those programs cost.

We’ve seen comparisons regarding the percentage Americans spend on food out of their annual incomes compared to other countries; and those figures show that we spend so much less.

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But now we’re wondering if these statistics are taking into account how much the U.S. Government, via it’s tax payers, is spending on Nutrition.

Maybe if we took the nearly $80 billion that is being spent annually by the USDA and divided it up among all of the taxpayers and then did the comparison again, we’d get a higher percentage number spent on Food in the U.S. We’re pretty sure those billions aren’t reflected in the above graph.

On the other hand, we spent $799.8 billion on our Defense Budget in fiscal year 2014. There’s another mind blowing number for you. We’re actually spending almost 10 times more on Defense than we’re spending on Food for the needy.

Bottom line, we have to feed our people in need; and we need to defend all of us so relax and enjoy this last day of Nutrition Month.

Thank You for following our Blog. We hope you enjoyed reading this one as much as we enjoyed doing the research and bringing you this information.

P.S. Remember to tell your friends and family who want to learn more about our Food System or who are interested in Aquaponics to check out our Blog. If you’d like to see this Blog Post as a monthly Newsletter, go to our March 2015 Newsletter, Number 15.

Sustainably,

Aquaponics USA/World