Posted on March 19th, 2012. Filed under News.
Today, the Farmers Market Coalition (FMC) submitted written testimonies to the Senate and House Appropriations Subcommittees on Agriculture, Rural Development, FDA, and Related Agencies. In the letters, FMC requested their urgent support for:
1) Reauthorizing and expanding the Farmers Market Promotion Program, which has no baseline budget after 2012 and needs specific authorization to continue operating in 2013. As the letter states, “With rural jobs on the line, and the nascent local food sector in need of training, capacity building, and technical assistance, now is not the time to turn our backs on a program with such far-reaching positive impacts, as illustrated in recent Senate Agriculture Committee briefings and testimonies.”
2) Restoring funding to the WIC Farmers Market Nutrition Program (FMNP), which serves more than 2.1 million WIC families, bringing more than $22 million in income directly to more than 18,000 small and mid-scale produce farmers. The program, already cut in the 2012 budget, now faces a $3.5 million cut in the proposed FY 2013 budget.
“Proposed cuts of $3.5 million to this important program threaten access to fresh local produce for WIC eligible clients in 45 State agencies, Territories and Indian Tribal Organizations. For example, in Wisconsin alone, WIC FMNP provided fresh fruits and vegetables to approximately 100,000 women and their children in 2011, simultaneously providing $864,037 in additional income to 1,552 participating Wisconsin produce farmers. Proposed cuts to this effective win-win program would mean thousand fewer families in need having access to nutritious, locally grown produce, and many hardworking farmers unable to serve them.”
It’s not too late to take action!
With the Farm Bill timeline uncertain, it is critical that legislators hear from as many constituents as possible about programs at risk in 2013. The House subcommittee will receive public testimony until March 20th, and the Senate subcommittee until March 30th.
FMC members are encouraged to send their own letters to the House and Senate Agriculture Appropriation subcommittees as well as letting their Senators and Representative know how FMPP or WIC FMNP have made an impact on their community or state.
What you can do:
1) Read and modify FMC’s letter to the Senate and send your own version to them no later than March 30th at firstname.lastname@example.org. The House Subcommittee’s deadline is March 20th, and FMC strongly encourages that letters be submitted to them at email@example.com if possible. FMC members are welcome to modify FMC’s letter to the House, being sure to retain the double spacing requested in their instructions. To find WIC FMNP stats for your own state, a chart on redemption is available from USDA FNS here.
2) Call your Senators and Representatives and let them know that you support both FMPP and WIC FMNP in the Fiscal Year 2013 budget. You can find your Senator’s contact information here, and Representative information here.
3) Share this link with your community, via facebook, twitter, or good old-fashioned email!
Photo: A sandwich board raising awareness about cuts to WIC FMNP recently appeared in the Union Square Greenmarket in New York City. Photo by Daniel Bowman Simon.