Maryland Farms and Families Act
The Maryland Farms and Families Act is a new law on the books in Maryland. Passed unanimously last spring, this bill would fund programs like MDFMA’s Maryland Market Money, directly investing in farmers and low-income households throughout the state.
The catch: the bill passed without funding. Until funding is secured, Maryland’s hard-working farmers and food-insecure families won’t receive the support they need.
More than 600 Marylanders– including 100 farmers, producers, and agricultural stakeholders– recently signed on letters to Governor Hogan, urging him to include program funding in the next state budget. The letter from the agricultural community and list of signatories is available here: Farms and Families Ag Petition.
Maryland Farms and Families Act Frequently Asked Questions
(updated December 2017)
Q: What is the Maryland Farms and Families Act?
A: The Maryland Farms and Families Act is a new law on the books in Maryland, passed unanimously through the Maryland General Assembly during the last legislative session and signed by Governor Hogan in May 2017. This bill created a grant program through the Maryland Department of Agriculture to support programs that match purchases made with federal nutrition benefits (SNAP/food stamps, WIC and Senior Farmer Market Nutrition Program) at participating Maryland farmers markets. However, the bill passed without funding. Until funding is secured, this grant program will not go into effect. Want to help? Read on!
Q: Don’t Maryland farmers markets already offer matching programs?
A: Maryland is currently home to a statewide farmers market matching program, Maryland Market Money (MMM). The Maryland Farmers Market Association (MDFMA), a statewide non-profit, operates the MMM program. In 2017, 24 farmers markets throughout the state— in Baltimore City and Anne Arundel, Baltimore, Garrett, Montgomery, and Prince George’s County—participate in MMM, bringing fresh foods to food-insecure families and additional revenue to local farmers. To date, the MMM program has generated over $1,516,128 for farmers at participating markets.
Q: If the MMM program is already in operation, why are state funds needed?
A: Currently, MDFMA funds the MMM program almost entirely with private dollars, which are inconsistent from market season to market season and make it difficult to meet demand—let alone account for growth! State investment would create a public-private partnership, enabling us to leverage the additional funding needed to bring the MMM program to more Maryland communities.
Q: How can I help?
A: Your voice is needed—especially if you are a Maryland farmer or agricultural producers! Governor Hogan has repeatedly voiced his commitment to small businesses and to Maryland’s agricultural community. As a Maryland agricultural producer, your voice is integral to securing funding for the Maryland Farms and Families program!
Read a summary of the Maryland Farms and Families Act here.