URGENT: Wireless EBT in the 2012 Budget

      Posted On: April 13, 2011

Isn’t it about time USDA followed through on its commitment to SNAP EBT at farmers markets?

The House Agriculture Appropriations Sub-Committee is accepting written testimony until this Thursday on programmatic requests in the 2012 budget.  This is our chance to tell these decision-makers how much of a positive impact this $4 million will make in thousands of communities. Though small in relation to other areas of USDA spending, is a critical first step in bridging the digital divide between farmers and the more than 43 million SNAP participants in the U.S. Your representatives need to know how much farmers markets need this investment in technology. You can read FMC’s written testimony here.

Last week, FMC hand-delivered letters to some of the Sub-Committee members, urging them to support this small but critical part of the 2012 budget as requested by President Obama. But they can’t just hear it from us.

I encourage you to take three minutes (that’s all- three minutes!) before Thursday to send an email to the House Agriculture Appropriations Sub-Committee. To save time, we’ve crafted some quick text you can copy and paste into your email. Of course, the more you can modify this with your own information, the better, but even a form letter is better than no letter at all, at this point!

Please address your email to ag.approp@mail.house.gov telling them who you are and modifying the following as you see fit:

Subject: Make 2012 a Win-Win for Farmers and Low-Income Families

Dear respected members of the Subcommittee on Agriculture, Rural Development, Food and Drug Administration, and Related Agencies,

Times are tough. It’s crucial that government spending have cross-cutting benefits that efficiently support rural entrepreneurship, spur local economic development, and serve families in need.

As a member of the Farmers Market Coalition (FMC), I want to share with you a letter that was recently sent to President Obama thanking him for his support for SNAP acceptance at farmers markets.  In 2010, more than $7.5 million was redeemed in SNAP benefits at farmers markets– but this is still only .012% of all SNAP redeemed.  As a nation, we can do much better at keeping federal nutrition dollars circulating in local economies and directly supporting family farmers. It’s about time farmers markets were offered the same access to technology as brick and mortar grocery stores!

We urge you to support his proposed $4 million provision in the USDA FNS budget to finally help farmers bridge the digital divide and serve SNAP/EBT shoppers.  This small investment in the FY 2012 budget would increase access to healthy, locally grown produce for those who need it most, and serve as an economic stimulus to the rural agricultural producers who, for too long, have been on the wrong side of the digital divide.  I urge you to read this letter, and to support this critically important $4 million provision in the FY 2012 budget for the USDA Food and Nutrition Service.


Thank you for your time and support on this issue!

As you know, your senators and representatives are strongly influenced by their constituents’ voices, and they need to hear from you soon if we are to take advantage of this historic window of opportunity!  We want you to flood the sub-committee with emails before Friday. Please copy membership@farmersmarketcoalition.org on your emails so we know that you’ve made your voice heard.

Thank you, as always, for your support and commitment to helping farmers markets thrive!