As we approach the summer season, many food policy changes are happening at the state and federal level. Here’s a few of the latest updates:
Senate Bill 403 (SB403): WIC Farmers’ Market Nutrition Program
- This bill proposes bringing the WIC Farmers’ Market Nutrition Program back to New Hampshire. WIC (Women, Infants, and Children) is the federal supplemental nutrition program that serves low-income pregnant and postpartum women, as well as infants and children up to age 5 who are found to be at nutritional risk. Federal WIC benefits haven’t been available for use at NH farmers’ markets since 2010. If this bill is to pass, a subset of the WIC participants in New Hampshire will receive a one time benefit of $30 to spend at a local farmers’ market. This puts fresh and locally produced fruits and vegetables on the plates of one of our most vulnerable populations, and puts money back into the local economy through our farmers. SB 403 is not only important for its immediate nutritional benefit but also as a precursor for children within this population to develop a relationship with fresh New Hampshire grown fruits and vegetables that lasts a lifetime. SB 403 was voted ought to pass by the Health, Human Services and Elderly Affairs Committee and is off to the Finance Committee as of April 12th.
Senate Bill 404 (SB 404): SNAP Outreach Plan Bill
- This is another important bill sent to the Health, Human Services and Elderly Affairs Committee recently. This important legislation would require the state to submit an outreach plan for reaching low income, SNAP eligible populations in New Hampshire. SNAP enrollment is low in New Hampshire (we are 39th in the nation) however food insecurity continues to rise. This bill is crucial in addressing hunger and nutrition in a vulnerable subset of the New Hampshire population. A NH SNAP outreach plan would focus on helping reach out to those who are SNAP eligible but not currently enrolled. It would be a critical step in reducing hunger in New Hampshire.
The Federal Public Health Emergency Declaration
- These benefits have been extended by the Secretary of Health and Human Services until July 2022. Among other time sensitive changes to federal programs, individuals receiving SNAP benefits will continue getting emergency SNAP allotments until then. When the additional allotments come to an end, SNAP recipients are estimated to loose about $82 a month in benefits.
Stay tuned as we will be posting with regular updates. You can also learn more about these and other legislation, as well as how to take action and get involved, by visiting the New Hampshire Hunger Solutions website.