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Poll: Americans overwhelmingly support doubling food stamp value at farmers markets

The American public strongly supports the work of the good food movement to build a more equitable and healthy food system, according to results from a new poll commissioned by the W.K. Kellogg Foundation.

“The data show that people want produce that is healthy, affordable, green and fair,” said Dr. Gail Christopher, vice present – program strategy.

The poll, which was released at the foundation’s 11th national Food & Community Conference in Asheville, N.C., found overwhelming support for ensuring equal access to produce, as well as support for a nationwide program to double the value of SNAP benefits (formerly food stamps) at farmers markets.

Ensuring equal access
Ninety-three percent of those surveyed say it is “very important” or “somewhat important” that all Americans have equal access to fresh produce.

Moreover, people agree that officials should help ensure that access. More than 80 percent strongly or partly agree that Washington, DC, needs to do more to increase access to locally produced fresh food, and more than 85 percent strongly or partly agree that state and local officials have a role to play in ensuring access to fresh produce.

Improving SNAP
Three-quarters of those surveyed said they support a nationwide program that would double the value of SNAP benefits used at farmers markets. A similar program in Michigan, called Double Up Food Bucks, has already proven successful on the state level. A national program would support local food economies across the country and provide low-income families better access to fresh fruits and vegetables. 

Supporting farmworkers and growers
Nearly 90 percent of those surveyed said they would pay $1.50 more each month for produce to guarantee fair wages for the people picking fruits and vegetables. According to a recent study by the Economic Policy Institute, such a raise would increase the pay of a farmworker making $10,000 a year to $14,000, which would be above the poverty line.

Americans also support their local growers. More than 80 percent strongly or partly agreed that Washington, D.C., should shift its support toward smaller, local fruit and vegetable farmers and away from large farm businesses. Nearly 90 percent strongly or partly agreed they would pay more for produce if that money stayed in the community.

The full poll and results are available at www.foodandcommunity.org/conference.

The survey was conducted by Lauer Johnson Research of 800 adults using mobile or landline phones from April 18–22, 2012. It has a margin of error of plus or minus 3.5 percent.


Oran Hesterman, Fair Food Network

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