Bill would increase the buying power of federal nutrition program recipients at farmers’ markets
Washington, D.C. – Yesterday, Councilmember Mary Cheh (D-Ward 3) introduced legislation aimed at promoting Farmers’ Markets throughout the District and increasing the access low-income families to fresh produce. The legislation directs the Mayor to appoint a farmers’ market ambassador to assist farmers’ markets as they navigate the permitting process. The ambassador would also be responsible for developing a central directory of farmers’ markets and implementing an advertisement campaign to encourage residents to visit the nearly 40 farmers’ markets in the District.
“As the number of farmers’ markets has increased in the District, many of them have experienced challenges in starting up and working with the government. Problems have arisen ranging from securing permits to occupy public space to being certified to accept SNAP benefits to obtaining the appropriate regulatory approvals,” said Cheh. “This legislation will simplify the process and ensure that farmers’ markets remain a viable option for District residents when shopping for foods for their families.”
The legislation also establishes an incentive fund to increase the buying power of recipients of federal nutrition programs by supplementing programs like SNAP and Senior Farmers’ Market Nutrition benefits at farmers’ markets in the District.
“Far too often, low-income families have to compromise the quality of their food to accommodate the quantity of food needed to sustain their households,” said Cheh. “However, with the establishment of this incentive fund, low-income families can have increased access to healthy, unprocessed foods. Providing this increased access helps families improve their diets, fighting obesity, while at the same time promoting the use of local farmers’ markets that offer locally grown food.”