NYFB Testifies on Food Insecurity Programs
New York Farm Bureau Deputy Public Policy Director Elizabeth Wolters testified during today’s virtual hearing on the success of food purchase and assistance programs that support both farmers and low-income New Yorkers.
Wolters spoke before the Assembly Standing Committee on Social Services that is examining how the pandemic has affected the availability of food access in New York State. Her comments echoed the written testimony submitted by New York Farm Bureau President David Fisher.
In recent months, farmers and dairy cooperatives have responded in big ways to help facilitate food donation efforts in urban and rural areas across the state. Linking up locally produced food with people in need has been an ongoing effort as part of New York Farm Bureau’s Harvest for All initiative that has donated more than 150 million of pounds of food over the past 15 years through Feeding New York State and its regional food banks.
Wolters testified how Nourish NY and the USDA’s Food Box programs have been especially needed during COVID-19. The food purchases have benefited farmers who saw their supply chains disrupted in the onset of the pandemic forcing down commodity prices they received. Nourish NY, a New York State funded program administered by the Department of Agriculture and Markets, provided a streamlined approach to quickly redirect that food to people who needed it most.
“In this depressed farm economy and the market upheaval from COVID-19, Nourish-NY payments have not only provided food to New York residents in need, it has helped keep farms afloat in a challenging financial environment,” said Wolters.
New York Farm Bureau’s testimony also supported the continued ability of people to use SNAP EBT cards at farmers markets to purchase fresh, local produce, but asked Assembly members to advocate at the federal level for their use to make direct online purchases from farms too.