Letters to the Editor | Mar 20, 2023, 6:00am EDT
Pass legislation to help farmers, food banks do more to fight hunger
We should also create the Illinois Food Rescue Authority, a business-to-business logistical platform for delivering otherwise discarded, perfectly usable food to food banks, pantries and charities.
The impact of ending emergency SNAP benefits cannot be understated. It is likely to increase hunger by 10% — around 4 million more Americans suffering food insecurity.
As the founder of Nayak Farms in Gardner, Illinois, I am committed to providing fresh produce to Illinois food banks and pantries. In 2022, the Nayak Farms Food Insecurity Initiative fed over 100,000 people. We grew, harvested, packaged and delivered our farm produce to food banks, distributing to thousands of food pantries and soup kitchens. And our goal for 2023 is to feed more than 250,000 Illinoisans suffering from hunger.
The General Assembly is considering the Illinois Farmers Who Fight Hunger Act (SB1627), with bipartisan chief sponsorship by Democratic Sen. Dave Koehler and Republican Sen. Dale Fowler. The bill incentivizes farmers to donate a minimum commodity yield (or cash equivalent) to food banks and farmers by offering estate tax forgiveness on their farmland. This program will generate essential food and revenue.
America’s hunger crisis is not food scarcity or lack of production, but food waste and inefficiency. We should also create the Illinois Food Rescue Authority, a business-to-business logistical platform for delivering otherwise discarded, perfectly usable food to food banks, pantries and charities.
As a life-long Illinoisan, I am confident that our Midwest good neighbor mentality will prevail in these dire circumstances and that our state will rise to the challenge of fighting hunger.
Dave Nayak, MD, MPH