NETWORK supports the Greening Food Deserts Act (H.R .4971), introduced in March by Rep. Marcy Kaptur (D-OH). The bill will help increase local agricultural production and fresh food availability in U.S. “food deserts,” communities with limited access to affordable and nutritious food. This proposal will arm the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) with new tools to reverse decades of urban and rural decay. The bill asks the USDA to empower community garden programs, expand access to nutritious food by better connecting communities with local farmers, and promote agricultural education in schools.
This bill is an important step in rethinking the role of the USDA, which has traditionally focused on maximizing large-scale production, which leaves people feeling disconnected from the sources of their food. Community-based investment—especially in neighborhood gardens that connect people directly to the land—keeps resources circulating locally. This has the potential not only to build community assets but also to strengthen social ties.