Last week in Sacramento, the $2.5 million in nutrition incentives that we’ve been lobbying for was dropped during the 2015-2016 budget negotiation between the legislature and the governor. However, AB 1321 is still in play- the bill would set up the infrastructure necessary to administer a nutrition incentive grant program, once funding is secured. The next step in the process is that the bill will be heard in the Senate Agriculture committee.
If 1321 is successful, we’re looking ahead to next year, when the Ecology Center, along with partners Roots of Change, Public Health Initiative, and Latino Coalition for a Healthy California, will be in a good position to advocate for budget funding for nutrition incentives in California.
The funds were intended to support Market Match, a successful program that gives a dollar-for-dollar match to low-income Californians when they shop at farmers’ markets, increasing their buying power for healthy fruits and vegetables. Market Match helps families get more healthy food on the table, farmers and small businesses sell more produce, and dollars recirculate in local economies, helping them grow. Demand for this program outstrips available funds, which is why we’ve been asking our state government to help support this program and its multiple benefits.
AB 1321 needs support to pass the state senate soon. It will first need to pass the Ag Committee, and then will go to the full floor for a vote. Check back here for updates on this legislation, and to help us get it over the line, for a healthier California!