Jewish groups petition government on food justice

In a petition sponsored by seven national Jewish organizations, 18,000 individuals urged the House of Representatives and the Obama administration to focus on food justice in the upcoming Farm Bill.

The petition, circulating since October, was delivered on June 14 to coincide with the House Agriculture Committee’s markup of the Farm Bill in the coming weeks.

A coalition of Jewish organizations called the Jewish Farm Bill Working Group sponsored the petition. It includes the American Jewish World Service, the Coalition on the Environment and Jewish Life, Hazon, the Jewish Council for Public Affairs, Mazon: A Jewish Response to Hunger, the National Council of Jewish Women and the Union for Reform Judaism.

Abby Leibman, president and CEO of Mazon, noted in a statement that the Farm Bill authorization process, which occurs every five years, gives the Jewish community “a chance to re-examine our national priorities with regard to food.”

“The Farm Bill governs the kinds and levels of assistance we provide to hungry people, helps regulate what crops are planted, establishes whether sustainable farming and conservation practices will be implemented, and influences whether our food is healthy and affordable,” Leibman said.

Ruth Messinger, president of AJWS, added that the outpouring of support for the petition was a sign of the bill’s importance to the Jewish community. — jta