Will Gov. Hogan stand with farmers and the communities they feed?
March 19, 2018
Ask Gov. Hogan to support local farmers & low-income Marylanders by funding the Farms and Families Program
Ask Gov. Hogan to Fund the Farms & Families Program:
Despite calls from Maryland farmers, anti-hunger advocates, and local food proponents we still don’t have a commitment from Governor Hogan that he will fund the Farms and Families Program. While he chose to not include it his original proposed budget, he can still support this impactful program by including it in his supplemental budget…but the clock is ticking.
Please sign our petition asking Gov. Hogan to do the right thing and fund the Farms and Families Program.
The Maryland Farms and Families Act, which passed the General Assembly unanimously during the 2017 legislative session and which Governor Hogan signed into law, created an unfunded grant program that would match purchases made by low-income Marylanders using federal nutrition assistance like SNAP (food stamps) at participating farmers markets.
Maryland’s General Assembly again showed their commitment to this program by including funding for it in the final 2019 budget that passed in March, 2018. However ,just because money is included in the budget by the General Assembly for a specific program doesn’t mean it will be spent. The Governor has to choose to spend these funds on the Farms and Families Program, or the money will actually revert back to our state’s general fund.
The Farms and Families Program would require only a modest investment by the state to have exponential impacts throughout Maryland.
Across the country, we’ve seen farmers market matching programs like this be incredibly successful. 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. To date, the program has distributed $460,000 to food insecure Marylanders, which in turn has generated over $1.4 million dollars in revenue for farmers at participating markets.
In light of the recent announcement that Maryland has a budget surplus of $430 million, Gov. Hogan should make funding for the Farms and Families Program a priority.
It is all too rare for a program to be celebrated by individuals of all political affiliations and among rural, urban, and suburban communities alike. By funding the Farms and Families program, Governor Hogan has the opportunity to be a champion for a common-sense program that directly fights hunger with wholesome food, supports our state’s hard-working farmers, and helps build our local economy.
We only have a few more weeks left to convince Governor Hogan to do the right thing. Please sign our petition asking him to fund the Farms and Families Program to ensure all Marylanders have access to locally grown, nutritious food.