WASHINGTON, DC, March 30, 2023: Representative Marcy Kaptur (OH-09) and Representative Dwight Evans (PA-03) released the following statement after reintroducing the Farmers’ Market and Food Bank Local Revitalization Act.
Supported by Ohio farmers, service organizations, and food banks, the Farmers Market and Food Bank Local Revitalization Act would improve and expand two long-standing federal initiatives that connect seniors and families with farmers markets and food stands. As a senior Member of the House Appropriations Subcommittee on Agriculture, Rep. Kaptur has long championed these efforts that provide affordable, nutritious food to tens of thousands of Ohioans while benefiting local farmers.
The Senior Farmers Market Nutrition Program (SFMNP) and the Women, Infants and Children Farmers Market Nutrition Program (FMNP) are federal-state partnerships in which the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) distributes grants to states to make coupons available to eligible seniors and families to purchase food made and grown in their communities. Each year, over 780,000 seniors and 1.2 million women, infants, and children across the country receive coupons worth up to $50 that can be exchanged at nearly 20,000 locations. However, the $20.6 million in annual funding for SFMP and $26 million for FMNP is insufficient to meet the need.
The Farmers Market and Food Bank Local Revitalization Act would allow for a stepped increase in SFMP funding up to $100 million annually by 2028. The bill also establishes a USDA pilot program to facilitate contracting between local farmers and local food banks for food procurement and nutritional assistance delivery.
The bill is endorsed by the National Sustainable Agriculture Coalition and the Farmers Market Coalition.
“Dollar for dollar, the senior and family Farmers Market Nutrition Programs are among the most effective farm and nutritional programs across America,” said Rep. Kaptur. “By connecting farmers with even more of their neighbors, we will ensure those in need have a meal at the dinner table while uplifting the growers and producers who feed us all.”
“Through the Senior Farmers’ Market Nutrition Program, older adults are provided the means and impetus to consume healthy food in the form of fresh fruits, vegetables, herbs and honey,” said Rebecca Liebes, Vice President of the Area Office on Aging of Northwestern Ohio. “In addition, farmers are able to increase their business, grow additional produce, and recognize that they are making a difference in the lives of low-income older adults.”
“The Chef’s Garden is a family owned and operated vegetable farm in Northern Ohio,” said Chef’s Garden CEO Bob Jones. “We operate a local farmers market and have been participating in the Senior Farmers Market Nutrition Program the past two years. We are continually amazed at how much the seniors in our area appreciate the access to good local fresh produce. We wholeheartedly support the expansion of this program to reach more folks.”
Full bill text for the Farmers Market and Food Bank Local Revitalization Act can be found here.