September 2014 – A Letter from the President – Purvie Green
September 3, 2014
Dear NAFMNP members, friends and nutrition partners:
By now most of the peas have been picked, the watermelons have been pulled from the vine, the corn has been shucked and you are either winding down your season or still in full swing. I hope this season has been successful at your markets and within your programs. Although the peak season’s end is drawing closer, the NAFMNP’s mission to “cultivate opportunities for consumers to buy fresh produce from local growers” continues.
Across the country, we began this growing season with news of the passage of the Agriculture Act of 2014, otherwise known as the Farm Bill. Our association was extremely proud to see the Senior Farmers Market Nutrition Program still included as a part of that act and we are thankful to our U.S. Congress for continuing to provide access to nutritious, locally grown food for low-income senior citizens. Not only that, we also applaud Congress for creating other resources within the act that will hopefully have positive impacts on our nutritionally at-risk populations.
We also began this season in a new role for our association of supporting USDA with providing assistance to farmers markets and direct marketing farmers with access to EBT, credit and debit payment processing equipment via the “MarketlinkTM” program. Like any new program, it has experienced some challenges, but due to a responsive team, most of these challenges have been met. MarketLinkis not the only payment solution available to markets and growers; however, it remains a great option for those vying to accept multiple payment options. For more information about MarketLinkplease click the link on this website or go to www.marketlink.org.
As my state’s Farmers Market Nutrition Program coordinator, I have been encouraged by seeing how programs, such as ours, allow a senior citizen who lives alone in Jackson, Mississippi to purchase enough peas to get through the season or when a child assists a mother in picking out a vegetable for dinner in new areas like Oxford, Mississippi. On a national scale, USDA recently announced that the number of farmers markets have steadily increased across the country (USDA Ag Marketing Service, Release No. 0167.14). As the FMNP coordinator of a southern state, the number of markets increasing in the south due to the presence of supplemental nutrition related programs like the FMNP have been very welcome occurrences (National Geographic News online, 8/14/2014).
As my term as the association’s president nears an end, it has been interesting to see the number of organizations and associations across the country that purposefully support small farmers and farmers markets and those that support nutrition and healthier lifestyles. The challenge is always how to achieve goals of our programs efficiently and successfully. The challenge of feeding America efficiently, tackling obesity and solving food disparity in food deserts is more than one association or group can successfully overcome. If our purpose and mission aligns with your agency, non-profit, association or organization and we can play a role in your fight to overcome these challenges, please call our Executive Director for additional information regarding the National Association of Farmers Market Nutrition Program.
2014 NAFMNP President
State of Mississippi