2022 FMC Policy Priorities
By: Ben Feldman Posted On: February 16, 2022
FMC’s board recently approved the organizations’ legislative priorities to guide our work over the next year. These priorities are based on input from market managers about challenges they have experienced, analysis from FMC staff, and feedback from our contacts at USDA and on the hill.
A note on SNAP EBT: The fact that SNAP is not listed among these priorities does not mean that we will not be working to address the needs of the sector. Instead, it reflects that we will focus our legislative efforts on the 2023 Farm Bill and WIC. Our work will instead focus on work at the administrative (USDA) and state levels to increase support for markets running and looking to run SNAP programs.
Work Towards the 2023 Farm Bill
- Improve FMPP Grants to make them simpler, more accessible, easier to understand and provide greater support to applicants and potential applicants, and to increase funding to BIPOC led organizations and regions of the country that have received fewer grants historically. Specific changes would include:
- A simplified application process for grants (likely under a set dollar amount)
- Reduce or eliminate match requirements (may also be tied to funding levels as in a)
- Build a mechanism (likely modeled after “centers for excellence in GusNIP) to provide assistance and training to grantees and potential grantees, to review and report on FMPP grant impacts, and to conduct analysis in the field of farmers markets
- Ensure that the Gus Schumacher Nutrition Incentive Program is well funded and program design does not undermine effectiveness of farmers markets and other farm direct sales.
- Define farmers markets as essential infrastructure in the Critical Infrastructure Workers Guidance.
Mode of Action
FMC will work with our members and state partners to engage in grassroots advocacy around farm bill goals while working to include our priorities among the annual NSAC priorities with the goal of developing a marker bill for FMPP related changes. Listening and strategy sessions with members through the FMC annual meeting, state farmers market conferences will serve to inform our activities and keep the up to date on farm bill progress. FMC will also seek to build new relationships to further our engagement on farmers market policy. FMC will engage in limited direct advocacy around these issues with Members of Congress.
- National Sustainable Agriculture Coalition
- Fair Food Network
- State Farmers Market Associations
- FMC member markets
- Appropriations: Maintain and increase funding for the program
- Child Nutrition Reauthorization:
- Develop eWIC solutions for farmers markets
- Allow eWIC FMNP to be redeemed through a central point of sale at farmers markets
- Raise the minimum FMNP benefit level and eliminate the maximum
- Eliminate the State Matching Requirement
- Allow states more flexibility through increased administrative funds
Mode of Action
- FMC will continue to work to build support for WIC FMNP funding through ‘dear colleague’ letters developed by congressional champions. This strategy has proven successful, resulting in funding increases in successive recent years after many years of stagnant funding
- FMC will work with the partners below to build support for these policy positions, however, it seems unlikely that congress chooses to revise the Child Nutrition Reauthorization act , a necessary step to make any of the above policy changes.