Giving a policy voice to Michigan farmers markets has always been an integral part of MIFMA’s vision and our work as an organization. We are incredibly proud of what MIFMA has achieved for our members over the past 10 years, from expanding acceptance of food assistance benefits at farmers markets to advocating for sales of Cottage Foods, wild foraged mushrooms and wine at Michigan farmers markets. Click here to learn more about our Advocacy in Action.
For an in-depth look at what we have been able to accomplish with the support of our members over the last decade, check out our Advocacy Accomplishments.
We advocate for policies that place farmers markets at the forefront of the local food movement to increase the awareness and consumption of the state’s diverse agricultural products and ensure equitable access to fresh, nutritious, local foods.
Part of MIFMA’s vision is to ensure that Michigan farmers markets have policy support. To guide our work towards that vision, each year MIFMA’s Advocacy Committee creates advocacy priorities that will provide a framework for MIFMA’s advocacy work. Member feedback is a valuable part of the drafting process and MIFMA believes it is important to give members time to ask questions and provide suggestions.
MIFMA’s 2021 Advocacy Priorities were voted on by members at MIFMA’s Annual Meeting on Wednesday, March 3rd during the 2021 Michigan Farmers Market Conference. Top actionable priorities for 2021 are outlined below.
State Level Priorities:
1. Wireless devices for Farmers Markets: A significant barrier for farmers markets and direct marketing farmers (e.g. Farm Stands) accepting SNAP Bridge Cards is the cost of the equipment to process transactions. In 2018, the State of Michigan provided support in the form of a one-time budget line item and leveraged that funding to apply for additional federal funding to provide no-cost wireless equipment. This is a temporary solution that will meet the need only until the funding runs out. There is still a need to secure permanent funding for equipment and associated monthly and transactional fees. The need has been even more prevalent as upcoming equipment changes will be needed due to changing technologies. MIFMA is requesting additional funding, as we anticipate the original funding will be exhausted during the 2021 season.
2. COVID Response: As the COVID-19 pandemic continues to affect nearly every facet of our lives, units of government at all levels- local, state and national- continue to explore ways to help mitigate risks, protect our food system, and support small businesses, among other efforts, during these challenging times. MIFMA can be a voice for markets, direct-marketing farmers, small businesses, food access programs, and initiatives working to ensure that their needs, challenges and opportunities are being considered in these efforts.
National Level Priorities:
1. Protect WIC Farmers Market Nutrition Program Funding: Funding for the WIC Farmers Market Nutrition Program (FMNP), known as WIC Project FRESH in Michigan, was threatened under each of the budgets presented by the Trump Administration. Food security advocates fought each year to ensure that Congress continued to fund the program on a national level at or near historic funding levels despite those threats. Budget proposals from the new Biden administration and negotiations in Congress should be monitored for ongoing threats to this program and MIFMA could engage in advocacy when needed to maintain and/or grow program funding.
2. WIC Acceptance at Farmers Markets (Child Nutrition Reauthorization): WIC Cash Value Benefits (CVB) are a year-round food assistance program that supports nutritionally vulnerable women, infants, and children. Participants use a WIC Bridge Card to buy specific products most important to their nutritional needs which can include a monthly allotment to purchase fruit and vegetables. Currently, due to federal regulations and available, affordable technology, this program can not be accepted at farmers markets when it is electronically processed. There is growing interest in Michigan and across the country to find solutions that allow relevant portions of the program to be accepted at farmers markets.
3. Continue building a case for either private insurance coverage and/or Medicaid/Medicare coverage of Produce Prescription Programs (PPR): While the expansion of Produce Prescription Programs (PPR) across the state and nation continues to grow, there is a need for sustainable funding sources to support the true costs of continued operations of these programs and a growing body of evidence of the impact these programs have on the health of participants, communities, and the economic viability of local food systems. Currently, funding for these programs comes from a mixture of state and federal grants, private foundations, and/or community health benefit dollars. Due to the inconsistent sources of funding, many programs struggle to continue past pilot year(s). We can continue to join partners and coalitions to build and communicate the justification for Produce Prescription Programs to be a covered healthcare expense.
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The Michigan Farmers Market Association is a U.S. tax-exempt 501(c)(3) organization. Your contribution is tax-deductible to the extent allowed by law.Donate Now!
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What is a Listserv?
A listserv is an email correspondence system set up amongst individuals interested in a similar and particular topic or cause. When a member of the list serv sends an email out through the listserv – everyone who has subscribed to it is notified and receives that email. Everyone then has the opportunity to respond (similar to a forum). The farmers market list serv was created to facilitate discussions among Michigan markets.
Follow the two simple steps below to subscribe!
Step 1) Send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org
Step 2) In the body (or the message) of the email write the following command.
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IMPORTANT: Please review the Michigan Farmers Market Association Listserv Rules and Etiquette
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