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PI Original
by Ellyn Fortino
Wed Aug 21, 2013

Experts: New Chicago Food Desert Numbers Not As 'Rosy' As Emanuel Says

Last week, Mayor Rahm Emanuel announced that the population of food deserts in Chicago declined 21 percent over the past two years thanks to 15 new grocery stores, additional farmers markets and more produce carts. But those working on the ground to combat food-access issues in Chicago say the new numbers are not as sweet as they appear.

Quick Hit
by Ellyn Fortino
Mon Jun 3, 2013

New Report Highlights Need To Reform The Farm Bill's Sugar Program

Changes made to the federal sugar program in the 2008 farm bill have caused sugar prices to spike to record levels, which hurts businesses, manufacturers and consumers, a new report from the food and agriculture consulting company Agralytica shows.

Extra consumer costs due to the 2008 farm bill have tallied about $3.7 billion each year, according to the report (PDF) released Monday. Currently, sugar prices in the United States are about 46 cents per pound, which is higher than 28 cents per pound under the 2002 farm bill.

Sugar producers in the United States and Mexico have responded to the high prices in the U.S. market by expanding sugar production by 20 percent to 25 percent, said Agralytica’s Vice President Tom Earley.

The 2008 changes have made “a bad program even worse and have destabilized the U.S. sugar market,” said Earley, who is also an agricultural economist and trade policy specialist.

“Now we have too much sugar that’s driving prices down that’s going to result in significant costs for the government,” he explained.

Quick Hit
by Steven Ross Johnson
Wed Oct 10, 2012

Cuts In The Farm Bill Could Spell Trouble For Neediest Americans

Thousands of low-income families throughout Illinois could lose food aid if Congress passes the deep cuts to federal assistance currently being proposed in the U.S. House of Representatives, according to the findings of a report released this week.

Quick Hit
by Michael Sandler
Wed Jul 25, 2012

Increased Link Acceptance At Farmers' Markets Creates Windfall For Local Farms & Credit Card Users

A federal grant could double the number of Illinois farmers markets that accept electronic payments, Lt. Governor Sheila Simon announced Tuesday.

During a conference call, Simon said 41 Illinois farmers markets will each receive $1,200 from the Illinois Electronic Benefits Transfer (EBT) Wireless Project. The money comes from a $4 million initiative by the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) to increase Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) use at farmers markets.