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Sowing the Seeds for a Just Farm Bill

Barbara Weinstein: "Our ancient tradition continues to remind us of our intimate connection to the land and the ways in which we can sustain it so that it sustains us."

Contact: Sean Thibault or Susan Paykin
202.387.2800 |

WASHINGTON, D.C., June 14, 2012 - Barbara Weinstein, Legislative Director of the Religious Action Center of Reform Judaism, today joined leaders from six national organizations comprising the Jewish Farm Bill Working Group to deliver a petition with more than 18,000 signatures to House Leadership and the Obama Administration urging that the upcoming Farm Bill emphasize economic and environmental justice priorities. Upon delivering the Jewish Petition for a Just Farm Bill, Ms. Weinstein issued the following statement:

We are proud to join with others in the Jewish Farm Bill Working Group, a broad cross-section of American Jewish life, composed of 20 national denominational and communal organizations, to deliver this petition today to Congress and the Obama Administration, reflecting our strong support for a just Farm Bill. More than 18,000 Jews across North America, including thousands of members of the Reform Movement, have made clear that the Farm Bill must embody our nation's commitment to environmental sustainability and combating hunger.

The Farm Bill, considered once every five years, has a far-reaching and long-lasting impact on food policy in the U.S. and around the world, from foreign assistance and food safety, to environmental conservation and anti-hunger programs. By delivering this petition just days before the House Agriculture Committee begins mark-up of its version of the Farm Bill, we convey to our elected representatives how critical it is that they ensure this legislation protects and prioritizes funding for SNAP and other nutrition programs. We also make clear that this Farm Bill must prioritize funding for conservation programs that protect air, water, and soil, and incentivize renewable energy and energy efficiently alternatives that reduce greenhouse gas emissions on farms and in our communities.

The work we do today is part of our Jewish tradition, which calls upon us ensure that no man, woman, or child goes to bed hungry, and that natural resources are protected l'dor v'dor, from generation to generation. From the knowledge that "The human being was placed in the Garden of Eden to till it and to tend it" (Genesis 2:15) to the commandment that we leave the corners of our field for the hungry (Leviticus 23:22), our ancient tradition continues to remind us of our intimate connection to the land and they ways in which we sustain it so that it sustains us.

We look forward to continuing to work with Congress and the White House to achieve these goals in the days and years ahead.

The Religious Action Center of Reform Judaism is the Washington office of the Union for Reform Judaism, whose more than 900 congregations across North America encompass 1.5 million Reform Jews, and the Central Conference of American Rabbis, whose membership includes more than 1,800 Reform rabbis. Visit for more.

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