FMC Commends Senior Farmers Market Nutrition Program
By: Maranda Raskin, Policy Intern Posted On: August 18, 2022
On Friday, the Office of Marcy Kaptur (OH) released the updated Senior Farmers Market Nutrition Program bill called the Farmers Market and Food Bank Local Revitalization Act of 2022. The proposed legislation is intended to increase and enhance funding for Senior and Women, Infants, and Children Farmers Market Nutrition Programs (SFMNP and WIC FMNP) to increase market capacity for local farmers and to support seniors and food insecure families. Additionally, the bill provides funding assistance for the expansion and construction of farmers markets and pilots the development of a program in which food banks are allowed to contract with local farmers to grow locally sourced produce for food bank programs. Overall, the act is a step forward for supporting farmers market infrastructure and increasing access to farmers markets and local produce for groups who have not been equally served in the past.
The bill contains provisions to ensure that SFMNP and WIC FMNP are well-funded. Specific legislation authorizes $60 million in appropriations for the SFMNP in Fiscal Year 2022 with the plan to increase funding to $100 million from Fiscal Years 2024-2028. The minimum individual benefit is also increased to $35 and the maximum is increased to $80. Program eligibility income limit is also increased to 200% of the federal poverty guideline. For WIC FMNP, the minimum individual benefit is increased to $35 and the maximum benefit is increased to $60 through 2025. Increasing funding for WIC FMNP and SFMNP as well as raising the minimum WIC FMNP benefit level are some of FMC’s 2022 Policy Priorities that are addressed in the bill. Investment in farmers market infrastructure is also included in provisions of the proposed bill in the form of loans, loan guarantees, and grants for the construction of new farmers markets or the revitalization of existing ones. FMC is excited to see investment in farmers market infrastructure development and expansion centered in this legislation.
FMC appreciates Congresswoman Kaptur’s attention to these important issues facing seniors, women, infants, and children as well as the important role that farmers markets play in increasing food access to communities across the country. We will continue to work with Congresswoman Kaptur and her staffers 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 is effective. We will also work to maintain and increase funding to the WIC Farmers Market Nutrition Program alongside advocating for our Child Nutrition Reauthorization priorities. We hope to see these provisions as well as FMC’s other policy priorities included in the upcoming Farm Bill.
In case you missed it, FMC held a Policy Webinar last week as part of our National Farmers Market Week webinar series. One of our panelists was Nathaniel Dullea, Legislative Assistant for Congresswoman Kaptur’s office. He spoke about the importance of the Senior Farmers Market Nutrition Program and what his office is working on to support farmers markets in the bill and beyond. You can watch a recording of the webinar on the FMC Facebook Page.