Nutritional Non-value | Hits & Misses | Salt Lake City | Salt Lake City Weekly

Nutritional Non-value 

New Farm Bill would bring cuts to rural communities; Utahns Against Hunger is on their side, though, and the story of the Boston Marathon's No. 2 finisher.

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Nutritional Non-value
OK, great. Let's not feed those kids. You know, Food Stamps, that imperfect, lifesaving program that conservative groups like Freedom Works dream of shutting down. They say it's open to abuse, looks like corporate welfare and has too few poor people subscribing to it. Now, we have the new Farm Bill, on its way to "strip billions in nutrition benefits from American families," according to The Daily Yonder, a blog devoted to rural issues. In Utah, rural communities have long had an outsized influence in politics. Now, take this curious effort to cut food assistance to poor rural families. Why? Because poor people make bad choices, and everyone knows you lose your right to choose anything if you're poor. SNAP, the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, will expire Sept. 30. And rural communities, where usage is 30 percent higher than urban areas, will be the losers.


On Their Side
People in poverty need someone on their side. Utahns Against Hunger is an organization working to help. Here's what they're finding about the Farm Bill: Some of the provisions would actually reduce state flexibility. It would cut food assistance to almost every type of SNAP participant and create a new bureaucracy to give—wait for it, a whopping $30 per person per month—for employment assistance. It would require SNAP recipients to verify their work requirement monthly or be sanctioned for a year. SNAP last year reached 82,922 Utah households and 206,621 individuals, and it keeps an average of 53,000 Utahns—8 million people nationwide—out of poverty. Reform might be necessary, but it looks more like punishment than change.


Ordinarily Exceptional
Sarah Sellers. She came in second in the Boston Marathon. That might be all you know about her. If you read the Deseret News, you'll know how she maybe channeled the Mormon Doctrine and Covenants during her unexpectedly successful run. You'll hear that her faith helped her when she fractured her foot at Weber State University. The Salt Lake Tribune gave her a thumbs-up, and talked a lot about her Weber State coach and her training. But Arizona Daily Star columnist Greg Hansen slaps you upside the head: "I prefer to think it was one of America's most inspiring distance-running stories since Billy Mills won the 10,000 meters gold medal at the 1964 Tokyo Olympics." Why? Because unlike Desiree Linden, the No. 1 finisher, Sellers had no sponsors, trained by herself and isn't a full-time runner who collects whiskies and tapestries like Linden. Hers is a story of a struggling, working woman—you know, ordinary and exceptional.

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About The Author

Katharine Biele

Katharine Biele

A City Weekly contributor since 1992, Biele is the informed voice behind our Hits & Misses and Citizen Revolt columns. When not writing, you can catch her working to empower voters and defend democracy alongside the League of Women Voters.

More by Katharine Biele

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