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‘A Place at the Table’ Still a Worthy Primer for Food Stamp Debate

Way back in February, Chef Tom Colicchio, optimistically declared, “I don’t think any member of Congress wants to be labeled ‘pro-hunger.’” The founder of Craft Restaurants and lead judge on Bravo TV’s mega-hit “Top Chef” was in town to promote the documentary “A Place at the Table,” a project he executive produced about food insecurity in the United States.

Times change.

The film, directed by Kristi Jacobson and Lori Silverbush, Colicchio’s wife, profiles people in Colorado, Mississippi and Philadelphia who struggle to feed themselves and their families, as well as those at the local and national level who are seeking to alleviate hunger. “I think that’s something they’ll try to duck. I think that’s where this needs to head,” Colicchio said of the “pro-hunger” tag.

That was before the House and Senate Agriculture committees in May marked up legislation to cut funds for the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program and it was way before the House voted to cut approximately $40 billion from SNAP last week. Colicchio has been on the Hill several times since, encouraging members to truly tackle hunger programs and looking generally bewildered that things have gone from bad to worse for his cause.

Watching the movie is a good start for people who want to see beyond political talking points about hunger, particularly in how it traces the near-elimination of hunger in America in the 1970s, as well as the increasing societal costs of dealing with food insecurity.

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