The Farmers’ Market Nutrition Program (FMNP) provides fresh, locally grown fruits and vegetables to participants of the Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children (WIC), and aims to expand the awareness, use of, and sales of farmers’ markets. FMNPs currently operate in 40 states and Washington, D.C. Missouri participates in the Seniors FMNP program, but does not participate in the WIC FMNP program. SB 525 would change the Missouri Seniors FMNP (MoSFMNP) to Missouri FMNP and expand eligibility to low-income pregnant and postpartum women, infants, and children under 5 years of age who are at nutritional risk to purchase fresh fruits and vegetables from authorized farmers.
- Approximately 13% of Missourians earn below the federal poverty line. Poverty disproportionately affects women and ethnic minorities.
- Food insecurity (low accessibility and affordability to purchase food) affects approximately 15% of Missourians.
- Authorized FMNP farmers increase their revenue through accessibility and affordability. Additionally, FMNPs may reduce costs associated with energy use, food transportation, and increase entrepreneurial skills and opportunities.
- WIC FMNP participants increase fruit and vegetable consumption in addition to saving costs compared to shopping at grocery stores.
- The vouchers are intended to increase fruit and vegetable consumption; vouchers are not to purchase items such as processed or baked goods from farmer’s markets. This may be inconsistently enforced throughout the state.
- The funds provided do not cover administrative costs to the state. There are no available reports indicating how participating in the WIC FMNP program could increase the cost of existing supplemental assistance programs.