A recent poll conducted by the W.K. Kellogg foundation reveals that the American public appears to be in full support of healthier options for recipients of SNAP benefits (formerly food stamps.)
Over 90 percent of those polled indicated that it is either “very important” or “somewhat important” that “all Americans have equal access to fresh produce.”
More than 80 percent asserted that government officials “need to do more to increase access to locally produced fresh food.”
Seventy-five percent of those polled would support doubling the value of SNAP benefits at local farmers markets.
Doubling the value of food stamps at farmers markets could provide lower income families with a tremendous amount of healthier options. When we consider how the costs of nutritious meals are in comparison to processed, commercialized foods, it is easy to see how lower-income families struggle to make healthy food choices. In addition, fresh vegetables available from the store are essentially out of the question when it comes to budgeting a family’s meals for an entire month; with only about $1.48 to spend per meal. (Even acclaimed food expert Chef Mario Batali had some trouble.)
The doubling of SNAP benefits at farmers markets would encourage users to consume more fresh produce, and hopefully cut down on health care costs down the road. It would help to sustain local farms and promote a healthier environment.
The American public is on board with addressing our nation’s hunger and health epidemic. With about 45 million Americans eligible for SNAP benefits, the rapid increase of childhood obesity, and recurring nutrition-related diseases that are swallowing our nation’s population, the government’s implementation of this program on a national level could benefit us in numerous ways.
Issues involving funding for SNAP benefits will continue to be deliberated over the next several months, as the government will be reauthorizing the Farm Bill later this year.
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