This Ain’t Your Government Food Box

You may be familiar with a fairly recent phenomenon:  Meal delivery companies such as Sour-Cream--n--Dill-Chicken_exps2335_RDS2719782B05_14_2bC_RMSBistroMD, HelloFresh, Blue Apron and a number of others.

These companies provide pre-packed dinner boxes delivered to your front door with perfectly proportioned, fresh ingredients that minimize prep time.  Their offerings include mouth-watering meals like creamy dill chicken with fresh pasta and green beans; salmon cakes with beet salad; and artichoke, spinach and red pepper frittata.

Sound good?

Well, apparently the U.S. government thinks so.  In an effort to save money – somethingsnap our government is famous for – the president’s recent budget proposal includes a plan to slash the food stamps program, also known as the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, also – because the government loves acronyms – known as SNAP, by $17 billion in 2019.

Budget Director Mick Mulvaney compared the new plan to Blue Apron, and it even has its own catchy name:  America’s Harvest Box.  Just like Blue Apron and those other companies, it’s a boxed food delivery program.

Government Food_02 America Harvest blue apron food box cropped.png
As you can see, America’s Harvest Box (left) is very similar to Blue Apron’s box (right).

OK, maybe there’s a slight difference between America’s Harvest Box and Blue Apron with the latter’s fresh meats and seafood, fresh vegetables and fruits, sauces, dairy, and pantry items.

America’s Harvest Box would, instead, include shelf-stable milk, juice, grains, cereals, pasta, peanut butter, beans, canned meat, poultry or fish, and canned fruits and vegetables.  The box would be valued at about half of the SNAP recipient’s monthly benefit, with the remainder of their benefits given to them on electronic benefit cards, as before.  SNAP provides an average of $125 per month to 42.2 million Americans, so America’s Harvest Box would contain about $62 worth of…stuff.

In the interest of more transparency (something else the government is famous for)

man in shadow_01
GOWWRA:  Government Official Who Wished to Remain Anonymous

around this program I contacted a Government Official Who Wished to Remain Anonymous (acronym GOWWRA) for a few questions:

ME:  What about people with food allergies – peanuts, gluten and so on?

GOWWRA:  They’ll get over it.

ME:  What about people who want fresh fruits and vegetables instead of canned?

GOWWRA:  They’ll get over it.stealing box_01 cropped

ME:  What if the food box is stolen off their front porch?

GOWWRA:  There was no collusion.

Considering how well the Congress is managing the Post Office – it’s lost only $65 billion in the last 10 years – I predict equal success for Congress managing America’s Harvest Boxes.

Especially if the Post Office is delivering them.

crushed box_04.jpg

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