Bipartisan bill strengthens WIC Farmers’ Market Nutrition Program
Georgia currently runs one of the largest and most utilized Farmers’ Market Programs in the country, helping Georgia kids access locally grown food
Washington, D.C. — U.S. Senator Jon Ossoff is introducing a bipartisan bill to improve access for Georgia kids to fresh produce grown by Georgia farmers.
Sens. Ossoff and Joni Ernst (R-IA) introduced the bipartisan Farm Fresh Food for Families Act to help families in Georgia and nationwide access freshly grown food at farmers markets.
The bill would strengthen and modernize the WIC Farmers’ Market Nutrition Program for families who receive nutrition support through the Women, Infants, and Children (WIC) program.
“Childhood nutrition is the foundation of a healthy life, but too many Georgia kids lack access to fresh, healthy fruits and vegetables,” Sen. Ossoff said. “I’m bringing Republicans and Democrats together to help kids access fresh food and support farmers in Georgia and nationwide.”
“This bipartisan legislation expands opportunities for families to bring healthy meals to their kitchen table! When we can support our farmers, farmers’ markets, and increase access to healthy, nutritious choices for our kids and young families, it’s a win-win,” said Sen. Ernst, a member of the Senate Agriculture Committee.
“This bill is a crucial and necessary step for improving the WIC Farmers Market Nutrition Program (FMNP) and increasing access to fresh and healthy foods. These improvements will further forge partnerships between farmers and WIC families and return investment directly to the local farm economy,” said Dr. Jamila Taylor, President & CEO of the National WIC Association (NWA). “With the success we have seen with technological innovations at farmers markets in multiple states, it is paramount that we streamline FMNP processes and adopt new technologies so that more states can join the program and more families can access healthy foods. We want to thank Sens. Ossoff and Ernst for their leadership on helping to improve the health of our nation and look forward to advocating for the passage of this bill.”
“The Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics commends U.S. Sens. Jon Ossoff and Joni Ernst for introducing the Farm Fresh Food for Families Act,” said registered dietitian nutritionist Ellen R. Shanley, MBA, RDN, CDN, FAND, the 2022-2023 president of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics. “By ensuring access to healthful, fresh, local food for families with low incomes who are most affected by disproportionate rates of chronic illnesses, and by supporting local farmers, this important legislation will have a tremendous impact on communities across the country.”
“The WIC Farmers Market Nutrition Program is a vital and innovative program that connects low-income families directly with farmers who sell at markets. As the first program to make this connection, and the first-time produce was included in the WIC basket, the program has influenced a whole wave of federal nutrition programs that have come since. WIC FMNP continues to provide millions of servings of fruits and vegetables to low-income families and millions of dollars in sales directly to American farmers. The proposed changes in the Farm Fresh Food for Families Act will help the program to be even more effective,” said Ben Feldman, Executive Director of the Farmers Market Coalition.
In Fiscal Year 2019, the WIC Farmers’ Market Nutrition Program benefitted more than 15,000 farmers, 2,400 farmers’ markets, and 2,150 road stands nationally.
Sen. Ossoff continues to fight for Georgia’s families and farmers. Last year, Sen. Ossoff worked to pass the bipartisan Kids Eat Local Act to enable more Georgia farmers to sell their produce to schools in the state.
Click here to read the bipartisan Farm Fresh Food for Families Act.