Lamont visits Middletown to tout food assistance expansion

He came to the South Green to highlight the recent expansion of the state’s food assistance programs to provide increased access to fresh, locally grown food at farmers markets in Connecticut, according to a press release.

National Farmers Market Week is an annual celebration that highlights the vital role farmers markets play in the nation’s food system, it said. There are more than 200 certified farmers markets and farm stands in Connecticut, which can be located by visiting ctgrown.gov.

Over the last two years, Lamont and legislators approved several changes to the state’s food assistance programs to ensure households of all income levels have access to nutritious, fresh, locally grown food, while at the same time supporting Connecticut’s farmers, the news release said.

At the Middletown market, approximately 90 percent of the customers are seniors who use these programs, which include the Farmers Market Nutrition Program, Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program and CT Fresh Match.

“Every individual should have access to nutritious food regardless of whether they live in a rural, suburban, or urban neighborhood, and by expanding our food assistance programs to increase the ability to accept these benefits at farmers markets, we can get healthy food to everyone ,” Lamont said in a prepared statement.

During the most recent legislative session, the Farmers Market Nutrition Program, administered by the state Department of Agriculture, received additional funding for eligible individuals to redeem checks at certified farmers markets and farm stands. Eligible individuals include seniors over 60, and women, infants, and children who meet certain guidelines.

Eligible participants can receive up to $32 in checks which can be used to purchase fresh Connecticut Grown fruits, vegetables, eggs, cut herbs and honey.

Many farmers markets in Connecticut also accept SNAP benefits, with some offering to double those benefits. This year, DOAG used $200,000 in funding that it received from the American Rescue Plan Act to expand the CT Fresh Match program, which is administered by End Hunger CT.

Connecticut’s agriculture industry generates $4 billion in the state’s economy and fosters more than 21,000 jobs, the statement said.

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