Food Policy & Economics

Key Facts

Federal Agencies impacting food production:

  • The United States Department of Agriculture (USDA)
  • The United States Food and Drug Administration (FDA)
  • The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)

Why It Matters

The way that food is grown, distributed and regulated is governed by a complex and interwoven system of local, state and federal food policies.
The biggest, most far-reaching piece of food policy in the United States is the federal legislation called the Farm Bill, which covers much more than its name suggests. Not only does this far-reaching policy govern crop insurance for farmers, but it also sets guidelines for conservation funding and various nutrition and hunger programs, including the National School Lunch Program and SNAP, commonly known as “food stamps.” All federal food and farming laws and policies are administered by key federal agencies that oversee farming, food production and distribution, food safety, and land conservation.

But food and farming are not only addressed at the federal level. In the past decade or so, for example, both states and cities have started to address food policy, some establishing food policy councils or hiring Food Policy “Czars” to look at how cities and regions feed themselves and how they can keep their inhabitants’ healthy and increase their access to healthy and affordable food.