Ask California’s Budget Leaders to Fund Nutrition Incentives Act, AB 1321

20150310ab1321UPDATE: Thanks to all our emails and letters, the Senate Budget Committee included $2.5 million in their proposed budget for AB 1321! However, we need to continue to let a few key decision-makers know that this is a budget priority for our state. We need your help to make sure that the $2.5 million makes it into the final budget. In the next few days the decisions of democratic leadership, specifically Senator Mark Leno, Senator Kevin de León, and Assemblymember Toni Atkins, is critical for the budget request. Please continue to send messages of support for AB 1321 to them. The content suggested below is still relevant for you to use. Thank you!

It’s thanks to $3.7 million in recent federal funding for our Market Match program that we’ll soon be celebrating a real victory: in June, low-income shoppers across our state will use their food stamp benefits to buy double the amount of fruits and vegetables as they could usually afford, and small farmers will pocket the extra income. $3.7 million will go far to support thousands of these transactions, but we already know that there’s greater demand than resources for this program. Funding will run out, and shoppers will be turned away; locations that would like to have this program but can’t raise their own matching funds won’t be able to offer it to their community.

To help remedy this gap, we need your help to ask our state government to make a similar commitment to our small farmers and poverty-stricken Californians by funding AB 1321. If California legislators approve AB 1321, setting aside $2.5 million, that funding will also be matched by the federal government, making $5 million each year available for this tried-and-true program. California will not get additional matching funds from the federal government, unless decision makers hear from you that AB 1321 should be a state budget priority.

What would AB 1321 do?
5 million combined funding from the state and federal governments would stimulate an estimated over 13 million dollars in fruit and vegetable sales. How? The funding would go toward the dollar match for Market Match. The program incentivizes low-income shoppers by doubling the value of their food stamp benefits when they purchase California-grown fruits, nuts, and vegetables at farmers’ markets. The program brings new shoppers to farmers’ markets, and both the match and food stamp benefit go to small farmers.

How can you help?
Send an email or letter to the budget committee today. Below is a form letter you can copy and paste to send. You can also click here to submit a letter through our partner Roots of Change’s website.

SUBJECT: Please include the Nutrition Incentive Matching Grant Program in your budget proposal!

YOUR LETTER:
I am writing to express my support for $2.5 million per budget year for the Nutrition Incentive Matching Grant Program budget proposal, which would double the value of nutrition assistance benefits (e.g. CalFresh) when beneficiaries purchase fruits and vegetables at farmers’ markets and qualified small businesses. It’s a win-win for California’s low-income population, small- and mid-sized farmers, and local and rural farming economies. The six-times return on investment for this type of program is clear and California should not leave any more federal matching dollars on the table.


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