Prince George’s Investment in Matching Program Lifts Up Local Farms and Families: County budget allocates $130,000 to match farmers market purchases made by low-income residents
September 20, 2018
Director, Prince George’s County Food Equity Council
|FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
UPPER MARLBORO, MD, July, 2018 –
|Prince George’s County Council approved $130,000 in the fiscal year 2019 budget to support a program that provides a dollar-for-dollar match for purchases made using federal nutrition assistance at participating farmers markets throughout the county. This investment connects food-insecure PG County residents with high-quality, fresh foods produced by local farmers.
“This significant investment by the County will bring much needed aid to the more than 125,000 Prince George’s County residents who are food-insecure,” said Sydney Daigle, Director of the Prince George’s County Food Equity Council, a local food policy council that works to help local residents grow, sell, and choose healthy food. “We applaud the County Council for supporting this important program to build a more equitable and healthy food system for all Prince George’s County residents,” Daigle continued.
Farmers market matching programs (such as Maryland Farmers Market Association’s Maryland Market Money) were first introduced in Maryland and have rapidly proliferated throughout the country. These programs have been shown to encourage healthier food purchases, directly support local farmers and economies, and fight food-insecurity.
“I am delighted to see Prince George’s County’s commitment to not only support our residents with fresh, local food, but also to support our region’s farmers,” said Kim Rush Lynch, Agriculture Marketing Specialist with University of Maryland Extension. “The Maryland Market Money program incentivizes residents to use their federal nutrition benefits at one of our county’s 16 farmers markets, keeping these federal dollars in our local economy.”
There is growing momentum for farmers market matching programs in Maryland. Other local municipalities in the state have wisely invested in Maryland Market Money, including Montgomery and Garrett Counties. This commitment from Prince George’s County is the most robust yet. Maryland’s General Assembly allocated $200,000 in the most recent budget to support a similar state-wide initiative and is awaiting the Maryland Department of Agriculture to allocate the funds.
“As a member of the Prince George’s County Council, I am proud to see our County continue to lead in efforts to fight hunger and support our region’s robust farming economy,” said Councilwoman Mary Lehman (D-1). “This program is a win-win and we hope to see more jurisdictions follow suit, especially in light of threats to federal funding of the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP).”
The County began allocating funds in July, 2018. For a current listing of County farmers markets, visit www.farmpgc.com.
About Prince George’s County Food Equity Council (FEC)
The FEC is a local food policy council that works to help Prince George’s County residents grow, sell, and choose healthy foods. Since 2013, FEC has been a voice for county residents at the policymaking table. We work with county leaders to find permanent solutions to improve our food system. We focus on systematic and sustainable changes to Prince George’s public health challenges (i.e., hunger, obesity, and food deserts that lack healthy food options) by advocating for policy that creates a more equitable local food system.