Help Low-Income Families Access Fresh Produce

farmer's market

Target: Washington State Legislators

Goal: Keep funding a program that helps low-income families afford fresh, local produce

The Farmer’s Market Nutrition Program (FMNP) connects low-income women, children and seniors to local farms by ensuring that they have access to and can afford healthy, fresh, locally-sourced foods. This program supports low-income families, as well as local farms, food-systems and rural economies.

Through this program, families who participate in the Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants and Children (WIC) can access local fruits and vegetables as well as nutrition education. June through September, packets of checks totalling $20 are distributed through WIC agencies. These checks can then buy Washington-grown fruits and vegetables at markets. Nutrition education informs about selecting, storing, preparing and incorporating these foods into family diets.

Disadvantaged families should have equal access to fresh fruits and vegetables and nutrition education in order to ensure good health and prevent disease. While in place, many families have taken advantage of this program, improving the quality of their life, and benefiting Washington farmers as well. In 2011, 52,500 people bought Washington produce through the FMNP, and 887 farms participated in the program.

Please encourage Washington State legislators to maintain sufficient funding for the Farmers Market Nutrition Program in the 2012 Farm Bill at the November 2012 session of the Washington State Legislature. We need to ensure that all families have equal access to fresh, Washington-grown fresh fruits and vegetables and receive nutrition education, and that in turn Washington farmers and rural communities receive adequate support.

PETITION LETTER:

Dear Washington State Legislators,

All families in Washington State should have access to fresh produce from Washington farms. The Farmer’s Market Nutrition Program ensures a positive connection between Washington growers and low-income families through the Women, Infant and Children (WIC) agencies, and additionally provides nutrition education so that fresh produce is beneficially incorporated into family diets.

Many families and farmers have taken advantage of this mutually beneficial program, proving its success. From June through September, WIC agencies provide packets of checks totalling $20, which participants can redeem for fresh produce directly from farmers at nearby markets. Thus this program provides valuable support to Washington Farmers as well.

Make the invaluable Farmer’s Market Nutrition Program a priority in the November session of the Washington State Legislature. Providing sufficient funding for the program in the 2012 Farm Bill will ensure support for Washington Farmers; and it will ensure access to fresh, healthy food, and nutrition education for all Washington Families.

Sincerely,

[Your Name Here]

photo credit: Phillie Casablanca via Flickr

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One Comment

  1. Without decent, real food, our nation is suffering greatly.

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