ANNAPOLIS, Md. — The Maryland Department of Agriculture has awarded the Maryland Farmers Market Association a $200,000 grant to implement the Maryland Farms and Families Act — a program that aims to double the purchasing power of residents using federal nutrition benefits at farmers markets throughout the state.
These funds will be used to provide matching dollars in 2019 to federal food program benefits spent by low-income Marylanders at farmers markets. The program runs every year from June 1 through Nov. 30. In Maryland, about 250 farmers accept federal nutrition benefits.
Matching benefits will be applied to funds issued to Farmers Market Nutrition Program participants, Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children recipients and Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program recipients. In 2018, WIC recipients and low-income senior citizens received $488,760 in fresh produce purchased from farmers through the FMNP program.
FMNP is a USDA-funded nutrition grant program that is administered by the Maryland Department of Agriculture in partnership with the Maryland Department of Health and the Maryland Department of Aging. The USDA gives grants to state agencies to provide checks to low-income participants. The two federal programs funded are WIC and the Senior Farmers’ Market Nutrition Program. Checks can be used to buy fresh fruits, vegetables and cut herbs (and honey for seniors only) at Maryland farmers markets.
Maryland Farmers Market Association is a non-profit with a goal of increasing access to and supporting the growth of farmers markets.
— Maryland Department of Agriculture