California Budgets $5 Million for Nutrition Incentives

Long Beach advocates for healthy communities, including the Long Beach Alliance for Food and Fitness, The Long Beach Time Exchange, and Long Beach Fresh, recently joined food movement leaders in urging Governor Brown to keep the five million dollars allocated in the state budget proposal to implement the California Nutrition Incentive Act, passed last year as AB 1321. The final budget signed by Governor Brown on June 27th included this line item, and the program now is funded!

The funds are intended to be matched with tens of millions of dollars in federal grants, and constitute a huge boost to a sustainable food system while bolstering public health. This program is an outgrowth of smaller programs like Market Match, which doubles the spending power of residents utilizing public benefits to buy fresh fruits, nuts, and vegetables at farmers markets.

The new program, to be implemented by the California Department of Food and Agriculture’s “Farm to Fork Office,” also includes a pilot that allows some small businesses like neighborhood corner stores and CSA services to participate.

The current budget proposal was a great opportunity to build a conversation around sustainable healthy food systems, with support from Alice Waters, Michael Pollan, Craig McNamara, and many more renowned chefs and activists. In Long Beach, a diverse coalition of groups have supported AB 1321 including Building Healthy Communities Long Beach, Families in Good Health, and the Harbor Area Farmers Markets.

Stay tuned for updates on implementation as State and County agencies create a pipeline for funding participating small businesses and farmers markets who sell whole, uncut fruits and veggies.

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