WIC FMNP National Sign-On Letter

From:    Ned Porter, Director of National and Regional Policy, Wholesome Wave, on behalf of the undersigned, ned@wholesomewave.org

To:    House Subcommittee on Agriculture, Rural Development, FDA and Related Agencies
    Committee on Appropriations, Ag.approp@mail.house.gov

Senate Subcommittee on Agriculture, Rural Development, FDA and Related Agencies
    Committee on Appropriations, agri@appro.senate.gov

Re:    Restoration of funding for WIC Farmers Market Nutrition Program

We, the undersigned, constitute some of the more than 3,600 farmers markets, 2,700 farm stands and 18,000 farmers that participate in the WIC Farmers Market Nutrition Program (WIC FMNP), as well as the numerous organizations that work with them.

The WIC FMNP has long served a critical function by helping family farmers provide fresh, locally grown produce to underserved families through farmers markets. In 2010, the program benefited more than 2.1 million families, provided income of about $22 million to the participating family farmers.

We are deeply alarmed that the WIC FMNP was cut by an estimated 30 percent in FY 2012, which will threaten access to fresh local produce during the upcoming growing season for WIC eligible clients in 45 States, Territories and Indian Tribal Organizations. By one estimate, 300,000 families will see a loss of benefits. The cuts also pose serious and even destructive impacts on the survival of some small and mid-scale farms as well as the farmers markets operating in low-income and “fresh food desert” communities, where WIC FMNP represents a major source of income for farmers at these markets.

We ask that the FY 2013 appropriation for WIC FMNP be restored to FY 2011 funding level of $20 million.

Thank you for your consideration,