Ecology Center in Washington DC: Connecting Tech Innovators with Farmers’ Markets for Food Stamp Access

20151012martinDCRecently, Washington DC was buzzing, and the Pope’s visit was not the only big deal in town! There were all kinds of amazing connections being made including Ecology Center’s meetings with the Farmers’ Market Coalition, the USDA, the White House Domestic Policy Council, and the White House Presidential Innovation Fellows.

The Ecology Center is helping to develop the Farmers’ Market Coalition (FMC) as the lead national voice on Farmers’ Market issues. Ben Feldman, our Food and Farming Director, leads the Policy Subcommittee on the FMC Board. As the Ecology Center works with FMC at the national level to increase the use of food stamps at farmers’ markets, we are also looking for ways to make this process as simple and efficient as possible for local farmers (vendors), market managers, and shoppers alike.

Ecology Center’s Executive Director, Martin Bourque, joined the Farmers’ Market Coalition (FMC) members Amanda Shreve of the Michigan Farmers’ Market Association, Marty Mesh of Florida Organic Growers, and FMC board members and staff, to seek support from the White House Domestic Policy Council and the Presidential Innovation Fellows (PIFs). The PIFs comprise the Obama Administration’s crack technology team that was initially brought in to solve issues with the Affordable Care Act’s web interfaces. We are now striving to tap the expertise of the PIFs and the USDA to make electronic food stamps easier to use at Farmers’ Markets nationwide!

Martin Bourque, Executive Director of Ecology Center (second from left) with the Farmers’ Market Coalition Members and PIF. From Left: Marty Mesh, Martin Bourque, Gus Schumacher, White House Presidential Innovation Fellow, Ross Dankin, Aliza Wasserman, Amanda Shreve and FMC Executive Director, Jen O’Brien.

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