The Los Angeles City Council voted Friday on a Councilmember José Huizar motion to require all farmers’ markets Citywide to accept Calfresh EBT cards so people on food stamps can have access to healthy produce
(LOS ANGELES) May 12, 2016 – The Los Angeles City Council voted unanimously Friday on a Councilmember Huizar motion to instruct the City Attorney to create an ordinance requiring all farmers markets Citywide to accept Calfresh EBT (food stamp) cards so low-income residents can have equal access to healthy produce offered at farmers’ markets. Huizar also honored via a Council Presentation, the state’s CalFresh program, which issues the federal food assistance program formerly known as food stamps through EBT cards.
Councilmember Huizar worked with the LA Food Policy Council and LACAN on the farmers’ market proposal after they approached his office with the idea. Currently, only 47% of the estimated 58 certified farmers’ markets Citywide accept Calfresh EBT cards. The cards allow eligible program participants to purchase food items for their families.
“In order to create a fair farmers market system that ensures all Angelenos, regardless of income level, have access to healthy foods, we need a policy that requires those farmers markets to accept EBT,” said Councilmember Huizar. “It is a small action that will have a huge impact for individuals and families citywide. By requiring EBT at all farmers markets, we are one step closer to closing the gap in food access and addressing food insecurity for low-income Angelenos.”
And on Tuesday, Councilmember Huizar and the LA Food Policy Council will host a sign-up fair at 10 a.m. on the Southlawn Steps at City Hall to enable farmers markets to accept CalFresh. Officials from the United States Department of Agriculture are expected to authorize farmers’ market managers as SNAP retailers on the spot, so they can begin using the necessary EBT technology as soon as possible. That process usually takes up to two months.
“This 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.”
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.