On January 10th Nutrition First’s Executive Director, Kristen Rezabek joined The Good Food Coalition in Olympia to educate policymakers and advocate for restoring the Governor’s proposed cut to the Farmer’s Market Nutrition Program (FMNP). Nutrition First met with 7 different Legislators including: Representative Sam Hunt, Representative Ruth Kagi, Representative Cindy Ryu, Senator Maralyn Chase, Senator Lisa Brown, Senator Ed Murray and Senator Karen Fraser.
The Department of Health (DOH) and Department of Social and Health Services (DSHS) operate the FMNP which provides vouchers to low income mothers, children and seniors to purchase fresh fruits and vegetables from local growers at farmer’s markets across Washington. The FMNP requires a small state match of $100,000 to leverage $894,000 in federal funds. If Washington state eliminates the $100,000 in state funds it eliminates the WIC FMNP entirely and puts the Senior FMNP in jeopardy.
The Impact of the FMNP in Washington State
- Serves 76,000 low-income seniors, new mothers and children.
- 887 Washington farmers in 38 counties earn $1.5 million
- For every $100 spent at farmer’s markets, $62 is reinvested locally and $99 stays in the state.
Not only does the FMNP provide access to fresh, healthy, Washington grown food for participants, but it also creates jobs and keeps dollars within our communities. A survey of farmers who participated in FMNP stated that 115 of the respondents employ 600 people to grow and sell their produce at the markets. The loss of FMNP would impact 51 markets across the state causing them to lose farmers and sales and threaten those market’s viability.
You can help educate your state and local legislators learn about the importance of the FMNP. Find your Legislators at apps.leg.wa.gov/DistrictFinder/Default.aspx. Advocating for programs can be as easy as sending an email or letter or calling your State Senator and Congressmen letting them know about the impact this program has on your community and asking their support in restoring the proposed cut. In addition there are 2 upcoming opportunities to visit the Legislature in Olympia in person; February 3 for Hunger Action Day with the Anti-Hunger and Nutrition Coalition and February 9th for Have a Heart for Kid’s Day with the Children’s Alliance. Make your voice heard and help protect these vital programs.