Food Justice News August 6, 2020:
Reports and updates today on food justice and food security issues from our friends at California Food Policy Advocates, California Alliance of Farmers’ Markets, CalCAN, Public Health Foundation WIC, LA County and others
- Pandemic EBT : Who Qualifies and How to Appeal
- National Farmers Market Week
- WIC Farmers Market Nutrition Program Up and Running!
- Support Healthy Soils and Farmworker Housing for Strong California Agriculture
- Volunteers Needed for Hunger Action LA!
- Link to LA County Food Programs
- Pandemic EBT : Who Qualifies and How to Appeal
Pandemic EBT or PEBT is the name of the food card program that distributed benefits to families with children in school meals programs, who were homebound due to the pandemic. California Food Policy Advocates (CFPA) reports that “ As of late July, $1.3 billion in P-EBT food benefits have been distributed to more than 3.5 million children across California. “
CFPA has prepared Question/Answer sheets in English and Spanish that cover P-EBT eligibility decisions, the appeals process, how to get help with P-EBT, and actions you can take to make sure P-EBT continues to help children throughout California. Click on links below:
2. National Farmers Market Week
(Thanks to CA Alliance of Farmers Markets)
Farmers Market Week began August 2 and ends Saturday. So let’s finish up with a strong weekend supporting local farmers! Many people have been wondering what’s happened to the farmers markets since the pandemic began. Here are some updates:
- Most markets are open, but have added hand-washing stations, eliminated on-site dining and food sampling, and have spaced the canopies further apart to allow for social distancing.
- Many markets that were co-located health care facilities (such as Kaiser Permanente) have closed indefinitely, but you should check because some have re-opened on other health facilities
- As more people lose income and qualify for CalFresh, we’ve seen as much as a 25% increase in CalFresh sales at some of the markets affiliated with Hunger Action LA’s Market Match program. In addition, P-EBT or Pandemic EBT can be used at the farmers markets too, and also qualifies the user for up to $10 bonus coupons to spend via Market Match.
Please share this video by the CA Alliance of Farmers Markets and the Spanish video for National Farmers Market Week on your social media platforms!
3. WIC Farmers Market Nutrition Program Up and Running!
WIC (Women Infants and Children) program provides food benefits, health and other classes all year long to families with children age 5 and under (as well as pregnant women.) Every summer, WIC provides farmers market coupons so families can learn about markets and make healthier choices.
WIC Families get $28 free this year to spend at farmers markets. Public Health Foundation Enterprises, one of the major WIC contractors in Southern California, will be distributing over half a million dollars of fruit and vegetable vouchers to 22,000 WIC families (while supplies last.)
This year, many markets remain open with additional safety measures in place due to COVID-19. We encourage participants to wear a mask to the market and follow all posted social distancing instructions for a safer shopping experience.
PHFE WIC participants can text FARMERS to 91997 to request their FMNP vouchers, if they have not received them. Vouchers will be mailed to the WIC participant within 1 week of the request.
Hunger Action LA has organized a safe and convenient way for families to use their WIC FMNP vouchers. WIC participants can order a WIC Farm Box for pickup at one of several Los Angeles farmers' markets!
4. Support Healthy Soils and Farmworker Housing for Strong California Agriculture
(Based on info from CalCAN, the California Climate and Agriculture Network)
Please take a few minutes today to email your state Senator and Assemblymember, and Governor Newsom, and ask them to make economic recovery investments in food and agriculture!
Food security—and economic security---in California depend on a strong resilient agriculture sector. After all, we are the state that feeds the nation. Two important programs to help achieve this are Healthy Soils (which provides grants to farmers and ranchers to build better soils) and Housing for the Harvest (housing for farmworkers who have to isolate due to the pandemic.)
Let your elected representatives know that you support these two programs, which are under consideration for funding in legislative talks now.
Sample Message for email or phone call:
“I’m urging (Governor Newsom or your Senator) to prioritize economic recovery funding for the Healthy Soils Program and the Housing for the Harvest program. The Healthy Soils Program turns farm-based climate solutions into rural jobs and farm viability. We must expand the Housing for Harvest program to include all agricultural counties, which provides critical housing for our farmworkers who are on the frontlines of the pandemic.”
You can reach Governor Newsom's page here for contact info by phone or email directly from the website. You can also find your senator at this link and follow the links at their site for contact info.
Background: Healthy Soils Program (CA Dept. of Food & Agriculture): In June, more than 300 growers received Healthy Soils grants but almost 600 farmers applied. Many farmers are using Healthy Soils grants to try new practices like compost, cover crops, and hedgerow plantings that not only build carbon sinks but also reduce chemical use and protect air and water quality, all while investing in local communities.
Farmworker Housing: Housing for the Harvest is a new program that offers temporary hotel housing to agricultural workers who need to isolate due to COVID-19. We support expanding Housing for the Harvest to include all agricultural counties.
5. Volunteers Needed for Hunger Action LA!
Contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org if you have some time to volunteer. We need:
*Delivery drivers to take food or meal bags to disabled, blind or senior households under pandemic lockdown. We collect food at 2:30 pm on Wednesday and deliveries go to South LA, Long Beach, San Gabriel Valley, San Fernando Valley, and Harbor Gateway cities. You can volunteer for 2 to 5 deliveries (or more.) Contact email@example.com
*Volunteers to help set up and take down farmers markets, and prepare boxes for WIC customers (mentioned in the earlier item on the update.) Also contact firstname.lastname@example.org
Join the over 75 who have volunteered with us so far since the pandemic and thank you very much!
6. Link to LA County Food Programs
During the coronavirus pandemic we’ve seen a bewildering array of changes, most of them temporary but with no definite end date, in food programs, as well as helpful new services pop up from public and private sources, especially for vulnerable communities who really shouldn’t go out to get groceries at this time. LA County has set up a web page with all the vital links including:
- Direct links to apply for CalFresh or for WIC
- A link to search for free food resources in your area
- Senior Critical Delivery service and the county’s Senior meal delivery program, as well as the city of LA’s recently expanded senior meal program
- Resources for those who want to volunteer and for those who are collecting or redistributing food
Information on public benefits, updates on Covid impacts, and food distribution events around the county can be found here:
LA County is continuing its own version of the Great Plates program, helping homebound seniors between certain income levels to get 3 meals a day delivered to their homes: