WASHINGTON -- The Senate has yet to convene this year, but Congress is
already busy introducing legislation to help fruit and vegetable businesses
play a role in beating back the obesity epidemic.
U.S. Sen. Tom Harkin (D-IA) said Jan. 26 that he planned to reintroduce the
Healthier Lifestyles & Prevention Act, a bill to integrate health and wellness
into schools, communities and grocery stores. Among the provisions, the bill
would provide fresh fruits and vegetables to all low-income elementary
schools and expand U.S. Department of Agriculture's Farm-to-School
program to childcare providers.
U.S. Rep. Joe Baca (D-CA) is taking a different approach to the obesity
epidemic, one that would promote more fresh fruit and vegetable production
in America through the use of tax incentives.
The Fresh Fruit & Vegetable Grower Tax Incentive Act would amend the
Internal Revenue Code to allow for a $10,000 tax credit to farmers whose
annual farming income is less than $500,000, with at least 75 percent of that
farming income being attributable to the sale of fruits and vegetables.
"This responsible bill provides incentives that will increase the number of fruit
and vegetable growers in America, and help to end the food access crisis that
is negatively affecting the health of our nation," Rep. Baca in a Jan. 19
The bill is aimed at reducing the number of so-called food deserts,
communities where there is limited access to healthy foods.