"I think it would end up creating food waste".
Under the proposal, which was announced Monday, low-income Americans who receive at least $90 a month - just over 80% of all SNAP recipients - would get about half of their benefits in the form of a "USDA Foods package".
The U.S. Department of Agriculture says the program would save $129 billion over 10 years. Instead a new proposed "USDA Foods Package" within the new budget will only include these items; ready to east cereals, pasta, shelf-stable milk, peanut butter, beans and canned fruit and vegetables.
The proposal would mark a dramatic shift in the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), which provides food assistance to people who make less than 130% of the federal poverty line - $1,702 or less a month for a family of three under the current calculations. No choices. Instead, the Harvest Box dictates what a SNAP recipient will eat with no regard to personal preferences or dietary needs, which poor people have every right to have. They also say the program will improve the nutritional value of the food stamp program and help reduce the potential for food stamp fraud.
"Perhaps this proposal would save money in one account, but based on our decades of experience in the program, it would increase costs in other areas that would negate any savings."
Though the proposal is already out of date as Congress struck a budget deal last week that Trump signed Friday, the document is being billed as the administration's message and vision for future spending.
An "anti-hunger" group, the Food Research and Action Center, blasted the harvest box as "a Rube-Goldberg designed system" that would be "costly, inefficient, stigmatizing, and prone to failure".
The plan isn't sitting well with local food bank officials. Participating households - roughly 136,000 Iowans, and 16.4 million nationally - would see food assistance cut in half in favor of a Trump administration "harvest box", which includes no fresh foods.
He was surprised to learn about the food box proposal.
The supermarket industry pours $840 billion into the economy. And the boxes would contain nutritious foods. Congressman Steve Cohen said the proposed changes to the SNAP program are both impractical and cruel.
Representative Barbara Lee, who said she raised her children on food stamps, slammed the idea as "offensive".