October 27, 2017
Why should you ask Governor Hogan to fund the Maryland Farms and Families Act? Here’s what Peter Elmore of One Straw Farm had to say:
“It opens up a market for customers who wouldn’t normally be able to afford or buy local produce like ours. It gives us a new market of consumers who are here shopping.”
The Maryland Farms and Families Act is a new law on the books that creates a grant program that would match farmers market purchases made with federal nutrition benefits, such as SNAP (formerly known as food stamps). The goal is to bring additional revenue to local farmers and fresh produce to food-insecure families by increasing their food budgets. Unfortunately, the bill passed without funding.
Watch our new video to hear from the One Straw Farm family why this program is so important to farmers and their communities.
We’ve seen farmers market matching programs like this be incredibly successful right here in Maryland. The Maryland Farmers Market Association, a private nonprofit, has been administering a statewide matching program for low-income families at select markets across the state, and doing so almost entirely with private dollars. This program has generated over $1.4 million for farmers at participating markets一and the demand continues to grow.
While the program is working well, there is significant room for growth. With increased funding from the Maryland government, we will have the opportunity to expand the program throughout the state, including moving into more rural communities with families in need and hard-working farmers looking to increase sales.