2022 FMC Updated Policy Priorities
Posted On: August 11, 2022
With National Farmers Market Week upon us, we wanted to share our updated policy priorities. We are actively advocating for farmers markets and revising our priorities from the beginning of the year based on input from market managers about challenges they have experienced, analysis from FMC staff, and feedback from our contacts at USDA and on Capitol Hill. We have bolded in red the updates that have been added this summer.
One of our updates is to include specificity to our priority of a simplified application process for FMPP grants. This is based on feedback from USDA and congressional contacts. Another update to our FMPP policy priority is to provide greater geographic balance relative to the benefits of the program. There is an unequal distribution of grants, and historically underserved regions of the country do not receive nearly as many program benefits as regions with greater access to government resources, as illustrated by this dashboard created by the Johns Hopkins Center for a Livable Future. Based on feedback from our members, FMC is also advocating to include eligibility for SNAP activities such as planning, outreach and staffing in FMPP grants. While federal funding exists for SNAP equipment and incentives, other SNAP activities were removed as eligible activities for FMPP funding in the 2014 Farm Bill. Funding for SNAP administration is crucial towards expanding access at farmers markets, and FMC is committed to bringing it back.
A new policy priority of ours is to ensure that the Seniors Farmers Market Nutrition Program is equitably distributed, administrative support is funded and effectively reaches senior populations, and the move to electronic methods of distribution do not hinder the program’s effectiveness. This addition is based on feedback from FMC members and anti-hunger advocates.
CALL TO ACTION: We’ve updated our policy priorities based on your feedback. Now is the time to begin sharing these priorities with Congress, and the House Agriculture Committee has created a short Farm Bill Review Form HERE! We believe you are the expert about what your market or organization needs, and it is this information that we want to amplify and relay to your members of Congress. Feel free to borrow language from our policy priorities and keep in mind when filling out the survey: FMPP grants fall under Title X (Horticulture), while GusNIP and SFMNP fall under Title IV (Nutrition). Happy National Farmers Market Week!
2022 FMC Policy Priorities
Red=Updates added 7/22
Work Towards the 2023 Farm Bill
- Improve FMPP Grants to make them simpler, more accessible, and easier to understand; provide greater support to applicants and potential applicants; 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 less than $100,000 to be used for a pre-established set of activities
- Reduce or eliminate match requirements
- Build a mechanism 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
- Provide greater geographic balance relative to the benefits of the program
- Include eligibility for SNAP activities such as planning, outreach and staffing
- 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.
- Ensure that the Seniors Farmers Market Nutrition Program is equitably distributed, administrative support is funded and effectively reaches senior populations, and the move to electronic methods of distribution are effective.
- 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
Regarding WIC FMNP, FMC commends the House Committee on Education and Labor for effectively addressing our 2022 WIC FMNP Policy Priorities in the most recent Child Nutrition Reauthorization bill released on July 20, 2022. We look forward to the passage of the Healthy Meals, Healthy Kids Act in both the full House and the Senate and we will be following its progress.