The Los Angeles City Council voted Friday to support Councilmember José Huizar motion to require all farmers’ markets Citywide to accept CalFresh EBT cards - Tuesday, the Los Angeles Food Council, Huizar, Mayor Garcetti and others hosted a resource fair where farmers market operators signed up for the EBT program
(LOS ANGELES) May 17, 2016 - After the Los Angeles City Council voted in favor Friday of Councilmember José Huizar’s motion instructing the City Attorney to write an ordinance requiring all farmers markets Citywide accept CalFresh EBT (food stamp) cards, Tuesday, Mayor Garcetti and Councilmember Huizar joined with the Los Angeles Food Policy Council, one of the legislation’s key supporters, in hosting a resource fair to sign up farmers market operators for the EBT card program and provide them with free equipment.
Mayor Garcetti and Councilmember Huizar co-sponsored the event with the Los Angeles Food Council and others as part of May’s CalFresh Awareness Month in an effort to increase access and participation in food assistance, reduce hunger and promote good nutrition.
Councilmember Huizar worked with the LA Food Policy Council and LACAN on the farmers’ market legislation after they approached his office with the idea. The cards allow eligible program participants to purchase food items for their families. Friday’s City Council vote was unanimous (13-0) and came on same day that Councilmember Huizar recognized CalFresh Awareness month with a presentation.
“Our vote on EBT requirements at all farmers markets citywide represents a key step in creating a fair farmers market system that ensures all Angelinos, regardless of income level, have access to healthy foods,” said Councilmember Huizar. “Today’s resource fair is an example of the kind of success we can have once our ordinance is in place. We need to close the gap in food access and addressing food insecurity for low-income Angelinos. I want to thank the Los Angeles Food Policy Council, Mayor Garcetti and all our partners for their advocacy and support.”
“By growing the number of farmers' markets that accept CalFresh benefits, we move a step closer to making sure that everyone in L.A. — no matter their ZIP code or income — can access good nutrition at affordable prices,” said Mayor Eric Garcetti. “In my Sustainable City Plan, I set a long-term goal of ensuring that all Angelenos live within a half-mile of healthy food by 2035. Expanding acceptance of EBT is an important part of that effort, and we will continue working to eliminate food deserts and build healthier communities in every part of our city.”
CalFresh is the California name for the federal Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), formerly referred to as the “food stamps” program. The Los Angeles Food Policy Council has partnered with the USDA Food and Nutrition Service to enroll farmers markets to accept CalFresh at their farmers markets. Typically, the process to enroll can take 30-45 days, but the USDA processed applications at Tuesday event in approximately two hours.
“Today represents a victory for a movement of advocates committed to this issue,” said Executive Director for the Los Angeles Food Policy Council Clare Fox. “Together, we are achieving collective impact by coordinating efforts between advocates, farmer markets, local, state and federal agencies to improve health, end hunger and support our local food economy.”
The California Department of Social Services was also on site to provide FREE, state-funded EBT (Electronic Benefits Transfer) point of sale machines, which are required to redeem CalFresh benefits. This event is open to ALL farmers markets (and community members) in the City and County of Los Angeles. The event will also feature additional resources for Farmers’ Markets Managers and families: healthy recipes, food demos, health resources, materials and more! Plus, community members can check their eligibility for CalFresh and sign up on the spot.
At Tuesday’s fair, 26 farmers’ market operators from Los Angeles City and County signed up for the EBT program.
Other sponsors for Tuesday’s fair include Los Angeles Community action Network (LACAN); Sustainable Economic Enterprises of Los Angeles; Hunger Action L.A. and the USDA Food & Nutrition Service.
For more information on the importance of EBT access at farmers markets or the implementation process, please see LAFPC’s EBT at Farmers Markets Frequently Asked Questions.