New ‘Agenda-Setting’ Report Outlines Critical Native Priorities For 2023 Federal Farm Bill

September 16, 2022

Yesterday, the Native Farm Bill Coalition released Gaining Ground: A Report on the 2018 Farm Bill Successes for Indian Country and Opportunities for 2023. The report outlines more than 150 policy priorities for the next Farm Bill, such as expanding Tribal food sovereignty and self-governance of federal food and nutrition programs, including the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP, formerly food stamps).

As the first non-Native ally organization to join the Native Farm Bill Coalition in 2017, MAZON welcomed Gaining Ground, highlighting long-overlooked food insecurity among Indigenous communities:

“Food insecurity among Indigenous communities is worsening, yet it is continually ignored by our nation’s leaders,” said MAZON’s President and CEO Abby J. Leibman. “Even before the pandemic, more than 25 percent of American Indian and Alaska Native households experienced food insecurity, compared to four percent in non-Native households. MAZON is committed to advocating alongside our longtime partners in the Native Farm Bill Coalition to ensure that Congress enacts these critical recommendations and achieves the goals Gaining Ground outlines in the next Farm Bill.”

Gaining Ground calls for the federal government to “provide an underutilized pathway to improve both Tribal food access and Native food economies simultaneously,” outlining several ways Congress and the Administration must empower Tribes to express their sovereignty by directly administering federal food and nutrition programs like SNAP. This policy change is critical in acknowledging that Tribes are best equipped to ensure the wellbeing of their citizens and communities.

MAZON has invested more than $1 million in the last 30 years to advance food security and Tribal food sovereignty. This includes longtime support for the Indigenous Food and Agriculture Initiative at the University of Arkansas, which authored today’s report.

“Today’s agenda-setting report showcases that Tribal organizations have the solutions to end hunger in their communities, and they are already implementing those solutions,” said Mia Hubbard, MAZON’s Vice President of Programs. “The federal government has an opportunity and obligation to listen to, respect, support, and advance these efforts. MAZON is incredibly proud to align with the vision set forth in this report, and we are ready to work together with Native partners to realize that vision.”

Earlier this year, MAZON hosted a webinar exploring food insecurity in Indian Country and how colonial legacies continue to impose barriers for Tribal communities. As Tribal nations reclaim greater control over their food and agricultural systems and advance their own vision for food security, MAZON is honored to partner with and learn from the organizations strengthening food security and Tribal sovereignty.