Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Call the Mayor today: a quick way to support healthy food in DC!

During yesterday's monthly meeting of farmers' market managers from around the city, I learned that Mayor Gray is finalizing the budget for the 2013 fiscal year and is considering designating a small amount to farmers' market incentive programs for the very first time in our city. But he needs to hear from DC farmers' market supporters about making nutrition incentives a priority. Currently, the budget does not include any funding for farmers' market incentive programs. (I know! Embarrassing. Boston's Mayor Menino realized the need for city-supported Bonus Bucks way back in 2009....)

On behalf of the D.C. Farmers Market Collaborative, I have a call to action for you:

Please call Mayor Gray TODAY!

I know it's a beautiful day, so maybe you can use this call from your cell phone as an excuse to step outside for a few minutes....

Please call the Mayor's Office at 202-727-6263 -- okay, or you can stay at your computer and email -- and relay the following message:

"My name is ____ and I am a supporter of D.C. farmers' markets, especially [name of market(s) you support]. It is critical that you designate $150,000 into the fiscal year 2013 budget for farmers' market incentive programs. These include SNAP (formerly the Food Stamp Program), WIC, and Senior Farmers Market Nutrition Program (FMNP) recipients. This District support would help leverage additional investments from foundations and other donors. It would help low-income consumers double the amount of fruits and vegetables they can purchase at participating farmers markets and generate local economic activity."


By providing an incentive for SNAP, WIC, and FMNP shoppers, farmers market incentive programs benefit low-income consumers, bolster the local economy, and promote consumption of fruits and vegetables. For example, a SNAP recipient who redeems $5 of these federal benefits at a D.C. farmers market that operates a "Bonus Bucks" program would then receive $5 worth of those Bonus Bucks (matching incentives) to spend on healthful, locally grown food. This means that the SNAP recipient ended up with $10 to spend on produce that day. In DC, such grant-funded pilot programs are working effectively at eight markets (in fact, the Columbia Heights and Ward 8 markets did so well they had to apply for additional funding!) and are expanding to even more DC markets (including a few some of you all helped to raise funds for back in December -- remember?) in the 2012 season.  These incentive programs benefit low-income consumers, but they also bolster the local economy and promote consumption of fruits and vegetables.

Please forward this message far and wide! We need your help!

1 comment:

  1. This is a great initiative - not only helps folks with limited income and supports the local farming community but also encourages people to explore and adopt a healthier diet, which is much cheaper and more enjoyable than treating diabetes and many other diet-related maladies.


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