DRAFT – 10-1-2008
New York State Council On Food Policy
Work Group 1: Maximize participation in food and nutrition assistance programs
Linda Bopp (Nutrition Consortium), John Evers (Food Bank Assoc), Florence Reed (OFA rep), Jack Kennedy (OTDA rep), Willie Rapfogel (Metropolitan Council on Jewish Poverty), Jonathan Thomson (DAM rep); Ann McMahon (coordinator)
More New York state residents are eligible for food and nutrition assistance programs than actually enroll in these services. Without this assistance, individuals may suffer from hunger and / or malnutrition. Hunger’s many adverse effects include a higher prevalence of chronic illness, frequent complications, and increased demands and costs for health care services. Further, hungry children experience significant and long-lasting cognitive, physical, and social delays (food bank association of new york state).
The goal of maximizing participation in food and nutrition assistance programs serves at least three vital functions:
1. Ensure that all residents have adequate access to nutritious foods regardless of income, culture, age, geographic region or other characteristics, and thus reduce hunger.
2. Confirm the roll of hunger prevention programs (such as soup kitchens, food pantries, emergency shelters etc) to be a safety net that provides supplemental food security needs to residents in urgent situations.
3. Make full use of all funds obtainable from federal assistance programs.
One objective for the year 2009 would be to inventory and create a map / directory of the multitude of food and nutrition services available. The purpose would be to indentify where program overlap exists, where funding would be best allocated and where the gaps in services exist. This “map” would be a key
education tool for both the advocates that provide the assistance and the individuals attempting to maneuver the food and nutrition assistance programs. Some non-food and nutrition programs may correlate as they contribute to the overall financial security of individuals (such as Home Energy Assistance Program HEAP and Elderly Pharmaceutical Insurance Coverage EPIC).
* Status reports are meant solely to aid in the NYS Council on Food Policy member’s deliberation and assessment. This document does not
represent NYS CFP final recommendations. This is strictly meant to be a working document.
DRAFT – 10-1-2008
For Appendix in December report if available/feasible:
Current federal funding for food and nutrition assistance programs accessed by the state of New York is $_______ .
List by program (example only-- data may vary)
Program: Farmers’ Market Nutrition Program
Responsible Agency/Organization: DOH, DAM, OFA, Farmers’ Mkt Federation
Federal Funding: Projected $5.2 million for FFY 2009-10
State Funding: $1 million
Population Served: 250k WIC / 115k seniors
Benchmark of increased participation level --- ?
1. Increase education about assistance programs and benefits using traditional outreach strategies
such as media / public service announcements and non-traditional outreach strategies such as in job
placement offices, places of worship, schools, drug stores, and farmer’s markets
a) Identify programs that already have existing federal and state funding for education and outreach
that can be tapped into (quantify existing funding amounts)
b) Prepare a map / directory of existing state, federal and non-profit food and nutrition assistance
programs for future public dissemination. This clearing house will be adapted for both consumers
and advocates. ex: Mapping the World of Nutrition www.ansanutrition.org
Program examples include, but are not limited to: NOEP (Nutrition Outreach Education Program); “211”
United Way phone information and referral system; NYS CFP 12/1/07 report Appendix C: “State Agency
Food, Access, and Nutrition Programs” (Advocacy Outreach); Food banks/soup kitchens; CCE - Food &
Nutrition Education in Communities (FNEC); NYConnects; Older Americans Act (nutrition education,
counseling, and information and assistance)
c) Develop operating procedures to ensure that staff in community based organizations, at emergency
feeding sites, at farmers’ markets, at schools and other food and nutrition assistance programs are
well-trained and knowledge of the variety of services (using the proposed map / directory) and that
they have necessary resources (such as forms, signs and guides in multiple language) available
d) Identify institutional resources (public and private) that would assist with the implementation of
items 1a) - 1c).
2. Encourage increased collaboration and consistency among State agencies and not-for-profits
administering the programs by co-enrolling participants for benefits and/or making enrollment more
DRAFT – 10-1-2008
a) Explore every opportunity to eliminate finger-imaging for food stamps application. OTDA:
This has already been eliminated for working families.
b) Explore every opportunity to allow phone interviews for food stamps application. OTDA:
Currently this is liberally done for working families, hardship cases (such as health or transportation
issues), and re-certification. However it is administered on a county by county basis, thus
interpretation often differs.
c) Explore every opportunity to simplify / streamline application forms: OTDA “My Benefits”
program should be capable of sharing information, increase data exchange, across agencies within
~ 5 years. Outline this plan.
d) Create “check list” for financial assistance packages such as the national model for seniors,
“Benefits Checkup” http://www.benefitscheckup.org/ or the Advocacy, Counseling, and Entitlement
Services (ACES) Manual sponsored by Community Service Society of NY
http://pbrcmanual.cssny.org/index.html that can be adapted for all populations. Recognizing
increased risk of hunger and diet related diseases due to lack of adequate access to affordable,
nutritious foods, target populations include: children, seniors, and low income families and
3. Explore options for ensuring that food assistance and emergency feeding programs have adequate quality (nutritional value) and stable quantities of resources needed to meet demands a) Collate the data that clearly documents unmet food security needs of NY residents b) Recognizing that food assistance and emergency feeding programs assist the state by
meeting the food security needs of many residents, it is strongly encourage that a “stable”
(consistent and guaranteed) state funding source for food assistance and emergency feeding
programs is in place for planning purpose.
c) Explore options for increasing funding indexed to inflation, for all government funded
emergency food programs. For example, the state is making some funding available as COLA (cost
of living adjustment) for some aging services such as the SNAP program…. Quantify this
d) Explore options for providing funding and other support to food banks for the purchase of
more local produce for distribution to residents.
4. Increase number of markets and outlets that are capable of receiving food stamps and other food assistance currency. These efforts boost the local economy by increasing farm income while supplying access to nutritious foods to at-risk, underserved populations. As was recently noted, “Food
stamp sales at NY farmers’ markets have increased statewide from $3,000 in 2002 to $90,000 in 2007” (Diane Eggert, Executive Director of Farmers’ Market Federation).
DRAFT – 10-1-2008
a) Support food assistance programs and efforts that provide incentives for clients to purchase
healthy, local foods such as Farmers’ Market Nutrition Program (WIC) and Senior’s FMNP.
Examples of projects or proposals to review, support and/or replicate include:
; CNY “Fresh Checks” coupon incentive program that provides food stamp customers
with a $5.00 NY Fresh Check coupon each market day they spend a minimum of $5.00 of
their EBT benefits at the market. Currently funded (1 yr) through the Humpty Dumpty
; Provide vendor training for and permit farmers’ market vendors to accept the “Cash
Value Vouchers” (new funding in the WIC package designated solely for the purchase of
fruits and vegetables) at their stands.
; Promote universal portable Electric Benefit Transfer (EBT) technology at farmers’
markets, grocery stores, farm stands and green carts. This increases access and reduces
the stigma associated with using assistance benefits.
DRAFT – 10-1-2008
Work Group 2: Strengthen the connection between local food products and consumers. Consider culture, age and geographic region of all consumers to best serve their needs.
Diane Eggert (Farmers’ Market Federation); Ray Denniston (Johnson City Schools); Fran O’Donnell (State Education
rep); Mindy Bockstein (Consumer Protection Board); Liz Neumark (Great Performances); John Evers (Food Bank Association); Jerry Cosgrove (DAM rep); Jim Barber (DAM rep), Ann McMahon (coordinator)
Compilation and dissemination of information by creating a centralized electronic clearinghouse is one of the first steps identified to develop a sustainable system that will strengthen the producer and consumer connection. Components of the proposed clearinghouse include, but are not limited to: current distribution models, storage and processing facilities, market locations, population studies and grower and processor profiles. The goals of this include, but are not limited to: 1) recognizing where opportunities and collaboration potential are present that will increase consumer access to local foods and 2) providing a user-friendly network that can be accessed by both consumers and by produces in a match making type service.
The target “consumers” of year 2009 are A) institutions and B) community markets; specifically, but not exclusively, those serving children, seniors, and low-income or other food insecure populations.
Recommendations for improving, expanding, altering infrastructure will be addressed after clearly identifying the existing “food system” framework that is in place; identifying food desserts, and establishing the capacity of New York producers and markets.
The recommendations of Work Group 2 are complementary to and advance the objectives of Work Group 3 (Supporting efficient and profitable agriculture food production and food retail infrastructure).
A. Institution purchasing
Create systems for local farmers to produce for state institutions and other food service programs (for example: schools, universities, nursing homes, prisons, day care centers, emergency feeding programs and government facilities).
1. Develop an electronic database that will serve as a “clearinghouse” or directory of producers,
processors, associations, and consumers such as the web-based “Farm-Fresh Guide” that lists nearly
2000 farms offering food, products, and services directly to the public
a) Database tools needed: sorting mechanism (by buyer/producer size and by regional level);
feature for individuals to update information.
DRAFT – 10-1-2008
b) Use regional Cornell University Cooperative Extension educators as resources to facilitate
the communication process between producer and consumer whenever possible
2. Explore and analyze existing storage, distribution, associations and “Market Maker” type models for
a) Consider bulk food drop-off / distribution centers such as Food Bank trucks pick up / deliver farm
products (example: Foodlink, Rochester)
b) Consider association models such as: Northeast Organic Farming Association, Apple Growers
Association; Vegetable Growers Association
Review, analyze, comment upon legislation (proposed and existing) that relates to increasing local food products to state institution such as, but not limited to: US Senate S.3588: Healthy Food for Healthy
Lives Act of 2008 introduced by Senator Clinton ； a.k.a. “Farm to Hospital”
School purchasing and child nutrition