Senator Gillibrand visits Union Square to Challenge Food Stamp Cuts

June 7, 2012
Posted in Greenmarket | Tagged ebt, union square
Marcel Van Ooyen, Executive Director of GrowNYC, welcomes Senator Kirsten Gillibrand and fellow anti-hunger advocates to Union Square.

On Monday, the Union Square Greenmarket hosted New York Senator Kirsten Gillibrand and Marcel Van Ooyen, executive director of GrowNYC, as well as anti-hunger advocates including chef Tom Coliccio and Joel Berg, executive director of New York City Coalition Against Hunger. The Senator announced the introduction of her proposed amendment to the 2012 Farm Bill, challenging the $4.5 billion in cuts to SNAP (Food Stamps) over the next ten years.

"This Farm Bill is much more than a set of esoteric numbers. It’s very much about the decisions we are making regarding economic growth, regarding our agriculture industries, and the moral obligation we have to our families that are at risk," said Senator Gillibrand. "Food stamps are an extraordinary investment because for every dollar that you put into the SNAP program, you get out $1.71. Under the current bill, families in New York will lose about $90 a month in their food stamps, which means in the third week of the month, many families’ children will go to school hungry. It also means less food on a kitchen table for children. I have very grave concerns about what that says about us, and what we’re going to do about it."

As Greenmarket shoppers know, Food Stamps are a critical component of GrowNYC's Greenmarket program. 90% of our markets accept EBT/Food Stamps, ensuring that all New Yorkers have access to healthy local food, and these dollars provide an important revenue source for Greenmarket farmers. Since 2007, Greenmarkets around the city have seen a steady increase in sales made at market with Electronic Benefit Transfer cards.

"Over the course of the last five years, GrowNYC's EBT initiative has resulted in $1.53 million in revenue to farmers, generating an estimated $2.8 million of regional economic activity according to the USDA," said Marcel Van Ooyen, Executive Director of GrowNYC. "The exponential growth of EBT dollars spent at our Greenmarkets since 2007 demonstrates an ever increasing demand from all New Yorkers for fresh, healthy food. By providing access to the freshest food available, the food stamp at farmers market program plays a major role in curbing diet related disease, and ensures a healthier lifestyle for all citizens while simultaneously supporting regional agriculture. The proposed cut to the food stamp program would mean a devastating loss to farmers, as well as the families who need this assistance the most."

Read the full press release from the event, and watch the video below of Senator Gillibrand as she introduced her amendment on the Senate floor yesterday.

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