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Food Aid and the Farm Bill

May 10, 2007

An op-ed article in the New York Times examines the proposed farm bill and its possible effects on food-aid recipients and farmer’s markets. Food-aid recipients are frequent customers at farmer’s markets, but new government proposals to increase the fruit and vegetable supply for poor people could transpose their business to supermarkets, which continue to be more convenient. Food-aid recipients receive plastic debit cards with which to pay for food, and most farmer’s markets don’t take plastic. The dilemma seems to be that increased fresh produce for poor people will actually hurt small farmer’s and local farmer’s markets. However, there is a way around this, if farmer’s are supplied with card readers and other means to make shopping at farmer’s markets more convenient, then it is beneficial all around. Urge legislators to support the Farmers’ Market Promotion Program, Community Food Projects, and other programs in the farm bill which can make this a reality.

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