Local Groups Applaud D.C. Council for Strengthening Farmers’ Market Nutrition Incentive Programs
More Low-income Residents will have Access to Healthier Foods
June 27, 2013 - Washington, D.C. - The D.C. Farmers' Market Collaborative (FMC) and DC Greens applaud the D.C. Council and Councilmembers Mary Cheh, Jack Evans, and Yvette Alexander for championing the city’s allocation of $200,000 in local funds to expand and strengthen farmers’ market nutrition incentive programs.
With the passage of the Fiscal Year 2014 budget, D.C. joins other major cities, including New York, Los Angeles, and Boston, in dedicating local funding for “bonus bucks” to increase food access at farmers’ markets for SNAP (Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, formerly known as Food Stamps), WIC (Women, Infants and Children), and Senior Farmers' Market Nutrition Program (FMNP) recipients.
Thousands of additional low-income residents will be able to increase the value of their federal nutrition assistance dollars at farmers’ markets throughout the District. Beginning spring 2014, a SNAP recipient who redeems $5 of benefits can purchase $10 worth of fresh, locally grown fruits and vegetables at participating farmers’ markets. “This investment will help residents struggling to purchase more healthy foods on a tight budget,” said Alex Ashbrook, director of D.C. Hunger Solutions, the organization that convenes the FMC. “We applaud the D.C. Council for funding these programs that help low-income residents access nutritious foods.”
According to a report published by the Food Research and Action Center with data collected from Gallup, more than one in seven households in Washington D.C. struggled to afford enough food in 2012.
“This is a landmark moment for individual and community health in the District,” said Lauren Shweder Biel, executive director of DC Greens and a member of the FMC. “We are so grateful that the D.C. Council has emerged as a strong partner in our collective efforts to get healthy food into people’s hands and onto their plates.”
Farmers’ market nutrition incentive programs have the potential to shift the eating habits of D.C. residents by expanding the amount of local and nutritious produce low-income residents are able to access. The incentive programs also strengthen the local economy by directing city dollars to local farmers and the markets that support them.
“This money will leverage the District’s existing farmers’ market infrastructure to play a greater role in healing the city’s health crisis. We sincerely thank and commend D.C. City Council for spearheading this citywide investment,” said Biel.
The D.C. Farmers’ Market Collaborative is convened by D.C. Hunger Solutions. Since 2007, this body of representatives from farmers’ markets and anti-hunger organizations has promoted the benefits of farmers’ markets and implemented strategies to increase market capacity to serve low-income communities. The Collaborative includes, among others: Bloomingdale Farmers' Market, Columbia Heights Community Marketplace, Glover Park-Burleith Farmers' Market, 14&U Farmers' Market, FreshFarm Markets, Mount Pleasant Farmers’ Market, Petworth Community Market, Rose Park Farmers' Market and the Ward 8 Farmers’ Market.
D.C. Hunger Solutions, an initiative of the Food Research and Action Center, is dedicated to ending hunger and improving the nutrition, health, and well-being of low-income people in the District of Columbia.