The Oregon legislative session is underway, and two identical bills, HB 2837 and SB 727, have been introduced that provide financial support to recipients of SNAP/food stamps to purchase locally grown produce from Oregon farmers markets. If passed, the legislation (“Double Up Food Bucks Oregon”) would provide $3 million of funding, which would be enough to fund a $10 SNAP match at all farmers markets across the state! This would allow tens of thousands of low-income Oregonians to increase their consumption of fresh fruits and vegetables, and put money into the pockets of small farmers.
Hollywood Farmers Market strongly supports this legislation. We believe that everyone deserves access to access to fresh, local food from their neighborhood farmers market. To this end, we’ve offered a SNAP Match since 2010, distributing more than $150,000 over the past nine years. We’ve seen the impact the program has had, massively increasing the number of low-income shoppers at the HFM, and improving their food security. In surveys, SNAP recipients overwhelmingly say that the SNAP Match increases their consumption of fresh fruits and vegetables, and allows them to have more food in their home throughout the month.
Statewide funding for SNAP match is crucially important. From 2015-2017, SNAP Match across Oregon was funded through a federal grant from the USDA. This grant went away last year, and farmers markets across the state lost their funding for SNAP Match. Many were forced to end their SNAP Match programs entirely. Hollywood Farmers Market’s size and community support have enabled us to continue the program, raising funds through small grants and donations, but ultimately even our program will not be sustainable without public funding.
We will be following these bills closely as they work their way through the legislature and will offer update on our Facebook page. For now, you can contact your state legislators if you support the bills. If you are not sure who is representing you, just enter your address here and you can find out. Here is a one page flyer with some more information on the legislation.