Two critical programs that support farmers and farmers markets in Vermont are under threat. The recently released presidential budget proposes the complete elimination of both the Farmers Market Promotion Program (FMPP) and the WIC Farmers Market Nutrition Program (FMNP).
The Farmers Market Promotion Program (FMPP) has provided and is currently providing funds to support NOFA-VT's Direct Marketing programs. With our current grant we are support direct market farmers and farmers market with data collection and usage, developing a statewide marketing campaign to promote direct markets that will happen in 2018 and 2019, and more.
The WIC Farmers Market Nutrition Program (WIC FMNP) is funding that goes to support Farm to Family Coupons for WIC customers at farmers markets all around the state. These funds are an important way to encourage eligible families to try out farmers markets and to purchase fruits and vegetables directly from local farmers.
Please take a few minutes to call or email your Congresspeople today!
- Senator Patrick Leahy:
VT Office (802) 863-2525 | DC Office (202) 224-4242 | Email
- Senator Bernie Sanders:
VT Office (802) 862-0697 | DC Office (202) 224-5141 | Email
- Congressman Peter Welch:
VT Office (802) 652-2450 | DC Office (202) 225-4115 | Email
From our partners at the Farmers Market Coalition:
Your voice is needed to protect these vital programs. Farmers markets don’t have Super PACs. We have something more powerful—a community of over 8,600 markets and millions of loyal shoppers in small towns and big cities in all 50 states. When we stand shoulder-to-shoulder and speak with one voice, we’re a force to be reckoned with. The time has come to get active.
If we act together it is still possible to save these programs, because Congress—not the President—controls the government's budget. Congress is currently debating the future of both FMPP and WIC FMNP.
Take five minutes to call or email your Congressperson and let them know how important these programs are to your market and markets across the country.
Click these links to read FMC's analysis of cuts to WIC FMNP and FMPP, and take a look at the following briefs for more information on the overall impact of the programs:
FMPP Talking Points
WIC FMNP Talking Points
Things to Keep in Mind:
- You’re the expert. Your Congressperson and their staff want to learn from you about these programs and how they work for your market.
- Listening to your concerns is their job. Every member of Congress cares about the needs of the people, businesses, and communities in their district. They want to hear from you because it helps them do that job better.
- Congressional offices hear from a lot of paid lobbyists in D.C. The voice of someone in their district representing a community institution like a farmers market carries more weight.
What You Might Expect When You Call:
Office: “Hello, Representative _______’s office.”
You: “Hello, my name is _______, with the _______ Farmers Market in [CITY and/or COUNTY] [this is important, when they know you’re a constituent, they’ll roll out the red carpet]. May I please speak with the person who handles agriculture or nutrition issues for the Congressman?”
Office: “Of course, may I ask that this is in reference to?”
You: “The Farmers Market Promotion Program and the WIC Farmers Market Nutrition Program.”
Office: “Of course, I’ll transfer you right over….”
Agriculture Staffer: “Hello, Jane Farmer”
You: “Hello Jane! My name is _______, with the _______ Farmers Market in [CITY and/or COUNTY] . As you may know, the President’s budget proposes the complete elimination of both the WIC Farmers Market Nutrition Program and the Farmers Market Promotion Program. We feel strongly that these are two worthy programs. Both are small, efficiently run, and are working exactly as they were designed to. [Share some information about how either of these programs have benefited your community or market] Have you had a chance to discuss either of these programs with Congressman________?”
Agriculture Staffer: [Yes/no. Unless their boss in on the Agriculture Committee they may not have discussed either program]
You: Thank you. We just wanted to let the Congressman know that these programs are supporting great work in [CITY and/or COUNTY] and we’re counting on her/him!
If the conversation goes well, invite your member of Congress or to the market and let them see these programs working firsthand!