Dear Farmers Market supporter,
Please call your senators today. Ask them to change the huge cuts to local food programs recently approved by the House of Representatives.
Visit www.Congress.org for your senator's contact information, or call the Congressional switchboard at (202) 224-3121 and ask to be connected to your Senator.
The U.S. House just passed a 2012 Agriculture Appropriations bill that slashes $2 billion from the budget for the Food & Nutrition Service (FNS), including nearly $5 million for the WIC Farmers Market Nutrition Program.
This same bill tells the USDA to drop their much-lauded and cost-neutral "Know Your Farmer, Know Your Food" program.
The House also denied Obama's request to fund the technology that enables food stamp use at farmers markets (wireless EBT), while cutting $1 billion from mandatory farm bill conservation funding.
If you support farmers markets, if you support farmland conservation, and if you believe in the importance of developing strong local and regional food systems, call your senators today and tell them so.
Our country certainly needs a balanced budget, and cuts are necessary - but are there programs we can cut without hurting farmers and without drastically reducing low-income shoppers' access to fresh fruits and vegetables?
In Massachusetts alone, the WIC Farmers Market Nutrition Program (FMNP) provides mothers and children with $450,000 worth of locally grown fresh fruits and vegetables each year - while providing $450,000 of annual revenue for local farmers and local economies.
WIC FMNP expenditures are some of the most efficient, multi-purpose funds our government spends. The WIC FMNP is a unique success story in U.S. agricultural policy, which traditionally favors large-scale commodity production. Our Senators and Representatives should consider making cuts in the commodity programs and ethanol supports that benefit only a small group of farmers and also benefit the Big Oil companies who purchased many of the nation's ethanol plants in recent years.
The House-approved Agriculture Appropriations bill prohibits the USDA from focusing any time and resources on the development of local and regional food systems, including the Know Your Farmer, Know Your Food initiative. Meanwhile, the House defeated nearly every amendment that would have reined in commodity subsidies and abuse.
Call your Senators today, and urge them to reverse the House vote.
Remember, you can find your senator's contact information at www.Congress.org. You can also call the Congressional switchboard at (202) 224-3121 and ask to be connected to your Senator.
Time is of the essence, so please call as soon as you can.
Mass Farmers Markets
240 Beaver Street
Waltham, MA 02452