Policy

Join us in protecting SNAP federal nutrition benefits!

The USDA is requesting public comments on proposed rules that would result in cuts to SNAP for jobless people and their families. Sign on to our letter below to tell the USDA that food is a right, not a privilege. Join the Milwaukee Farmers Market Coalition Policy Group, as an individual or as a representative of your organization, farm, or business, so our collective voice can be heard.

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March 21, 2018

 

SNAP Program Development Division

Food and Nutrition Services, USDA

3101 Park Center Drive, Room 812

Alexandria, VA 22302

 

Re: Comments on the Proposed Rule; Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program: Requirements and Services for Able-Bodied Adults Without Dependents; Submitted online via regulations.gov.

Dear SNAP Program Development Division of the Food and Nutrition Services, USDA

I am writing on behalf of Fondy Food Center and the Milwaukee Farmers Market Coalition’s Policy Committee to provide comments on the proposed rulemaking for SNAP requirements and services for able-bodied adults without dependents. The Fondy Food Center (FFC) is a non-profit that brings healthy food and economic opportunity to Greater Milwaukee through its farmers markets, farm project, and healthy food access initiatives. FFC is a nationally recognized leader in farmers market SNAP redemption and nutrition incentive programs. The Milwaukee Farmers Market Coalition (MFMC) works to connect more low-income consumers with the public health and economic benefits of farmers markets. The MFMC Policy Committee seeks to advocate for policies that support that aim.

Our comments reflect our commitment to improving the local economy through increasing access to healthy, local food.

We appreciate your consideration of our comments below, and we look forward to continue engagement as the FNS considers making changes to the most important anti-hunger program in our country.

 

Sincerely,

Jennifer Casey

Fondy Food Center

 

Recommendation: Strengthen and expand access to SNAP by protecting benefits for jobless people

Rationale:

  1. SNAP improves nutrition, health outcomes, and reduces healthcare costs, while improving the local economy.

Research shows that that SNAP is vital to a variety of our nation’s priorities by its ability to reduce food insecurity and poverty, support economic stability, and reduce healthcare costs.

  1. Cutting SNAP hurts businesses and people.

At Fondy Food Center we see the benefits of SNAP on a weekly basis at our farmers markets – for both our low-income community members and farmers.

Through our SNAP redemption and nutrition incentive programs – which help thousands of struggling families put healthy food on their tables by making locally grown food more affordable – we’re impacting public health and the local economy.

As one of our customers recently shared, “It is great to be able to support our local farmers, even during a time that we are struggling financially. The farmers market SNAP partnership helps us to buy fresh and healthy ingredients for our home made meals.”  And our farmers agree: one of our long-time farmers market vendors says, “SNAP and the incentive programs are great – that’s more money going straight into the farmer’s pocket.”

  1. Food is a human right, not a privilege for only those with work.

The notion that one’s work status should determine whether they, or their children and dependents, should have access to food, is diametrically opposed to our assertion that food is a right, not a privilege.

The USDA has asked for information that would better support the Department’s goals. It is our recommendation that congress should reverse the SNAP time limit law. In the meantime, the Department should not limit a state agency’s right to request to waive the ABAWD time limit. In fact the Department should do everything in its power to strengthen and expand SNAP – this would better serve the USDA’s strategic goals.

We wholeheartedly support the mission of the FNS, “to increase food security and reduce hunger by providing children and low-income people access to food, a healthful diet and nutrition education in a way that supports American agriculture and inspires public confidence.” We also commend the Department for stating the following: “No American should have to go hungry.” We believe that includes people without work, and their children.

  1. Workforce training does not have a successful track record.

Taking away state’s rights to waive the ABAWD time limit will lead to increased hunger, poorer health outcomes, and more costly health care, and will not lead to significant rates of employment.

Since 2015—when Wisconsin’s waiver expired and FoodShare Employment Training (FSET) was implemented—hunger and reliance on emergency food pantries have increased, tens of thousands of people have lost their SNAP benefits and only 12% of people who have gone through FSET have gotten jobs.

 

Sincerely,

Jennifer Casey

Fondy Food Center, Executive Director

 

cc: Governor Scott Walker, US Senator Tammy Baldwin, US Senator Ron Johnson

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