In January 2019, Island Press released Watershed Media co-founder Dan Imhoff’s third edition of his acclaimed primer on U.S. food and farm policy. The Farm Bill: A Citizen’s Guide was the result of a few years of research and revisions to the previous 2012 edition of the book, under the previous title, Food Fight. Christina Badaracco, graduate of the University of California at Berklee’s master program in public health, was a co-author on the project.

The book made immediate impact when Imhoff and Badaracco appeared in Washington DC in late January for a series of events which included a public talk at Busboys and Poets bookstore and a Congressional briefing co-sponsored by CA-Rep. Jared Huffman and OR-Rep. Earl Blumenauer. Watershed Media was extremely pleased to collaborate with Ricardo Salvador, Mike Lavender and Sarah Reinhardt of the Union of Concerned Scientists on these events.

In late March Imhoff travelled to Baltimore for an appearance at the Bloomberg School of Public Health at Johns Hopkins University. Co-authors Imhoff, Badaracco and economics professor Adam Sheingate spoke to a packed lunchtime auditorium that included professors, the public and students from a number of different programs within the university.

Press around the book has been steady. A number of interviews have been published including podcasts from the Institute for Agriculture and Trade Policy and Roots of Change. Imhoff also has contributed op-eds to Civil Eats, Environmental Health News, and the Sustainable Food Trust in the wake of the passage of the 2018 Farm Bill in December.

The latest edition of the Citizen’s Guide is nearly 300 pages long with over 50 updated charts and diagrams and a new format designed to make the technical language of the massive bill understandable to broad readership. The book also features a foreword by Marion Nestle, one of the country’s leading champions of food and farm policy reform.

The Farm Bill has already become a popular text for the burgeoning number of classes in sustainable food systems in universities around the country. The book is also a compelling resource to bring together various members of society to try to reform a critically flawed yet vitally important legislation. The early editions of this book inspired the City of Seattle to write its own Farm Bill Principles, which were later adopted by the National League of Cities.

Imhoff’s favorite story of how a book can activate audiences and influence influencers involves chef Michel Nischan and the group he co-founded, Wholesome Wave. Following the publication of the first edition of Food Fight, Imhoff was invited by Nischan to speak at the Westport Playhouse at a Wholesome Wave and American Farmland Trust event in 2007. It was attended by the late Gus Schumacher, a former Under Secretary of Agriculture at USDA and CT-Rep Rosa DeLauro, among others.

Inspired by a slide from Imhoff’s book that graphically represented how Farm Bill dollars are spent, Wholesome Wave began advocating for SNAP funds to be used to increase the affordability and availability of fresh fruits and vegetables to low-income Americans.

The effort evolved into the Food Insecurity Nutrition Incentives program (FINI) which helps SNAP recipients double their purchases of local produce at farmer’s markets and other retail points of sale. In the recently passed 2018 Farm Bill, the program received permanent funding status with a budget of up to $250 million per year for five years and is now known as The Gus Schumacher Nutrition Incentive Program.