Agriculture and anti-hunger community will continue to urge the Governor to fund Law that fights food insecurity and directly invests in local farms
For Immediate Release
January 18, 2018
Millersville, MD (January 18, 2018) – The 2019 Maryland budget that Governor Larry Hogan presented to the General Assembly did not include funding for the Maryland Farms and Families Act, disappointing agriculture and anti-hunger stakeholders throughout the state. Fair Farms Maryland and Maryland Farmers Market Association are now calling on state legislators and the Governor to ensure that funding is included in the final budget.
The Maryland Farms and Families Act, which passed the General Assembly unanimously during the 2017 legislative session and which Governor Hogan signed into law in May, created an unfunded grant program within the Maryland Department of Agriculture that would support matching programs at Maryland farmers markets. Such programs provide a dollar-for-dollar match for purchases made using federal nutrition assistance at participating farmers markets throughout Maryland, thereby connecting food-insecure Marylanders with quality, fresh foods produced by local farmers.
Farmers market matching programs such as Maryland Farmers Market Association’s Maryland Market Money, which were first introduced in Maryland and have rapidly proliferated throughout the country, are a win-win: the same dollar simultaneously supports Maryland farmers and provides our state’s most vulnerable households with critical access to nutritious foods.
“A fair food system is good for both consumers and farmers. This law supports Maryland’s hard-working farmers and gets their healthy and fresh products into the hands of people who all too often don’t have access to Maryland’s best food. We will continue to work alongside agriculture and anti-hunger communities throughout the state to ensure this law receives proper funding,” said Alicia LaPorte, Fair Farms Campaign Manager.
The Maryland Department of Agriculture (MDA) is tasked through the legislation to establish a process by which qualified nonprofits can apply to use the to-be-determined funding for matching purchases made with federal nutrition program benefits (FMNP, SNAP and WIC) at participating farmers markets throughout the state.
“This grant program will both support farmers selling through farmers markets in Maryland as well as get more local and healthy food on the tables of low-income Marylanders. We will continue to try to secure this funding in support of our agriculture communities as well as our fellow Marylanders in need of good food,” said Amy Crone, Founder & Executive Director of the Maryland Farmers Market Association.
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About Fair Farms Maryland
Fair Farms Maryland is a movement of environmental and public health groups, businesses, consumers, and farmers committed to a sustainable and equitable food system. Fair Farms Maryland seeks to create awareness about the relationship between agriculture, water, food and public health; galvanize Marylanders to reduce agricultural pollution; and support farmers, businessesand public policies that promote healthy, sustainable agricultural practices. www.fairfarms.org
Contact: Shelby Kalm
About Maryland Farmers Markets Association
The Maryland Farmers Market Association (MDFMA) was founded in 2012 to connect people with Maryland farmers markets and to provide resources and coordinated services to market managers, farmers, and consumers alike. A statewide nonprofit, the MDFMA operates programs to provide access to healthy local food for all and improve the quality of and transparency at Maryland farmers markets. marylandfma.org