09.29.14

Chairwoman Stabenow Applauds New Programs to Help Low-Income Americans Purchase Healthy Fruits and Vegetables, Support Family Farmers, Locally Grown and Organic Products

Series of Innovative Farm Bill Programs Help Families Increase Purchase Power for Fruits and Vegetables, Strengthen Local and Regional Food Systems by Increasing Resources for Locally Grown and Organic Products

U.S. Senator Debbie Stabenow, Chairwoman of the U.S. Senate Committee on Agriculture, Nutrition and Forestry, today applauded the announcement of a series of national programs, authorized in the 2014 Farm Bill, that will help provide families with greater access to fresh, healthy fruits and vegetables, while also supporting family farmers by creating new opportunities to sell locally grown and organic products.

Over $52 million in grants will be awarded as a result of Farm Bill programs. The Farmers Market and Local Food Promotion Program and the Community Food Projects grant program will support local and regional food systems by investing in creating new economic opportunities for family farmers. The Organic Research and Extension Initiative supports critical organic research to help to continue growth in the organic industry.

Applications are also being accepted for the new Food Insecurity Nutrition Incentive program. This program will provide SNAP recipients with additional value for every fruit or vegetables purchase, helping low-income families feed their children healthy produce, while increasing market opportunities for local farmers.

 

“These new programs will not only empower low-income Americans to provide their families with more healthy fruits and vegetables, they will also help strengthen local economies by investing in local food systems and organic agriculture,” Stabenow said.  “These programs were major priorities for me when writing the 2014 Farm Bill and emphasize the importance of feeding families nutritious, healthy food and strengthening economic opportunities within communities by purchasing food from local farmers and businesses. These programs are part of a larger effort to ultimately strengthen communities by starting with the food we eat every day.” 

 

Stabenow led the effort to include the programs in the 2014 Farm Bill, to ensure that nutrition assistance is not only helping families put food on the table, but also helping families to feed their children more healthy fruits and vegetables – and supporting farmers in growing their local economies and creating jobs. Stabenow’s efforts in the 2014 Farm Bill were applauded by nutrition and healthy food advocates, and profiled in a New York Times column earlier this year.

 

“The bill reflects the diverse agricultural landscape of Ms. Stabenow’s home state, which plays a leading role in movements like community gardens in schools and offers a program that gives food stamp recipients double credit for food and vegetable purchases — a model for the federal farm bill,” the New York Times column reported.

 

The Food Insecurity Nutrition Incentive Grants program is modeled after Michigan’s successful “Double up Food Bucks” program, which provides SNAP beneficiaries with tokens to purchase healthy, locally grown fruits and vegetables at over 150 sites across the state. For those interested in participating in the FINI grant program, applications are due on Dec. 15. USDA’s National Institute of Food and Agriculture will host a webinar for applicants on Oct. 2 at 2 p.m. EDT here.

 

For applicants interested in learning more about the Farmers Market and Local Food Promotion Program, visit here. For applicants interested in the Organic Research and Extension Initiative, visit here. For applicants interested in the Community Food Projects, visit here.

 

For more information about the 2014 Farm Bill, click here.