SNAP

Lauren Bavis/Side Effects Public Media

On a sunny Saturday morning, Samantha Wilmot helped a customer pick a fresh cantaloupe the best way she knows how, by smell. Satisfied, she accepted a few dollar bills from the man who stopped by her booth at the Columbus Farmers Market.

The Trump administration is proposing a major shake-up in one of the country's most important "safety net" programs, the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, formerly known as food stamps. Under the proposal, most SNAP recipients would lose much of their ability to choose the food they buy with their SNAP benefits.

The proposal is included in the Trump administration budget request for fiscal year 2019. It would require approval from Congress.

Lowering the price of fruits and vegetables by 30 percent can save nearly 200,000 lives over 15 years — roughly the population of Des Moines, Iowa. That's the message being touted by researchers this week at the American Heart Association's Epidemiology meeting in Phoenix.

Early this month, House Speaker Paul Ryan asked a crowd in Washington, D.C., "What kind of country do we want to be?" As he unfurled his sweeping 2016 agenda, he returned to one of his signature issues: public benefit programs. There are just too many, and they don't work, he said: "We are trapping people in poverty."

U.S. Department of Agriculture via Flickr/ https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0/

At the beginning of the summer, the US Department of Agriculture announced its goal to serve 200 million meals to low-income children through the summer meals program, which is 13 million more than it served last year. The USDA is also highlighting several new ways of reaching kids in rural areas of the country.

Reporter Hope Kirwan at Side Effects partner station KBIA spoke with US Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack about the program’s growth and the USDA’s success in serving rural communities.