As part of her Missouri Agriculture Tour, a statewide tour of Missouri’s agriculture economy, U.S. Senator Claire McCaskill visited Kansas City’s Ivanhoe Neighborhood Center on Wednesday to talk directly with area growers and agencies in a roundtable discussion on efforts to eliminate urban food deserts.
“We have this amazing abundance of ag products but we still struggle to make sure everyone in Missouri has enough food to eat,” McCaskill said.
On her tour of the state, McCaskill heard directly from a wide variety of producers, ranchers, and businesses on Missouri’s agriculture needs and discuss upcoming priorities for Congress on issues affecting Missouri agriculture.
In Ivanhoe, she hosted an event facilitated by Beth Low-Smith, director of the Kansas City Food Policy Coalition. There, she talked with our partners about urban ag as it impacts hunger, economic development, food safety, institutional purchasing, small business, infrastructure, grocery business models and more.
Low-Smith gave a run down of several innovative solutions the food policy coalition and its partners have put into play, namely Double Up Food Bucks, a dollar match program for SNAP recipients. Since its launch in July there’s been a 70% growth in the redemption of those matching dollars for produce.
“Its success has been unprecedented and we’re really excited to see it grow,” said Low-Smith
She also mentioned water access grants for growers onboth sides of the state line.
“This is the work that needs to be done,” said McCaskill. “Real solutions have to come from the community.”
McCaskill recently waged a two year fight— for which she won the National Farmers Union highest legislative honor—to pass a bipartisan Farm Bill in 2014. The bill included several of McCaskill’s priorities, including saving more than $8 billion in the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program without negatively impacting Missourians who rely on those benefits. McCaskill also voted to pass the previous Farm Bill, which included increases in the food purchasing power of low-income families’ food assistance benefits, investing $5.4 billion over the next ten years.
McCaskill closed the meeting with a heartfelt thank you.
“You are doing amazing work,” she said. I sense so much passion around this table. I’m proud of the effort you are putting into this important problem.”