Berkshire Grown actively recruited farmers to participate in the Healthy Incentives Program (HIP) to increase access to locally grown food and increase farmers’ sales. “We’re thrilled that HIP increased local farmers’ sales of fruits and vegetables in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts by nearly $3 million in the first nine months of the program in 2017,” says Barbara Zheutlin, Executive Director of Berkshire Grown. “Now we’re urging everyone to make a phone call to make sure the funding for HIP is renewed.”
The Healthy Incentives Program provides a dollar-for-dollar match for SNAP dollars spent on fruits and vegetables purchased at participating farmers markets, farm stands, mobile markets, and community supported agriculture (CSA) programs statewide. To date, the program has provided more than $2.9 million in fresh, healthy, local foods for low-income families, with that money going to support local farms in Massachusetts.
“HIP has been so successful that we need to urge our legislators to include funding in their next budget to support the program so that it can continue,” says Zheutlin.
She urges Massachusetts residents to call or email their state representative today to ask them to support Healthy Incentives Program (HIP). When reaching out, ask the representative to:
- Sign on to a letter urging that the House Committee on Ways and Means include $6.2 million in their Fiscal Year 2019 budget request by contacting Carolyn Cismondi in Representative Donahue’s office at Carolyn.Cismondi@mahouse.gov.
- Include HIP as a priority in their top three priorities when they meet with the Committee to discuss the upcoming budget.
Looking for more information? Massachusetts Food System Collaborative is a great resource for questions about this and many other issues.
Ready to contact your representative?
Smitty Pignatelli, 617-722-2210, firstname.lastname@example.org
Tricia Farley-Bouvier, 617-722-2240, Tricia.Farley-Bouvier@mahouse.gov
Paul Mark, 617-722-2304, Paul.Mark@mahouse.gov
John Barrett, 617-722-2400, email@example.com
Visit www.malegislature.gov/Search/FindMyLegislator to enter your address and find your legislator’s contact information.
Berkshire Grown supports and promotes local agriculture as a vital part of the Berkshire community, economy, and landscape; its mission is to “Keep farmers farming!” Through events, workshops, promotions, advocacy, and education highlighting locally grown and produced food, Berkshire Grown helps to create a thriving local food economy. For more information, go to berkshiregrown.org or call 413.528.0041.