WASHINGTON – Today, U.S. Senators Susan Collins and Angus King and Congressman Bruce Poliquin announced that the Maine Farmland Trust will receive $249,816 from the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) to help people in Maine who participate in the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) to purchase more Maine-grown fruits and vegetables.
“Healthy food helps to make healthy families, and it’s important that Maine’s most vulnerable citizens have access to fresh fruits and vegetables,” said Senators Collins, and King, and Congressman Poliquin in a joint statement. “In Maine, we are lucky enough to have a vibrant local food movement, and this investment will make locally-grown produce more accessible for people with limited means, while supporting our farmers in the process.”
This multi-year grant award is part of a larger $31 million announcement from USDA that will help SNAP participants access healthy foods. Specifically, the Maine Farmland Trust will use this funding to incentivize people in Maine participating in SNAP to purchase fruits and vegetables that are grown by Maine farmers, and are either sold at retailers that exclusively feature products from Maine farms or at food co-ops that specialize in Maine farm products. Maine Farmland Trust plans to implement incentive programs at a minimum of 11 retail outlets across the state.
Based in Belfast, the Maine Farmland Trust works in partnership with local and regional land trusts to protect farmland in the state, support farmers, and advance Maine farming. Since the organization was founded in 1999, it has participated in over 225 land transactions that have preserved more than 36,500 acres of farmland. Maine Farmland Trust also helps support Maine farms and farmers through direct assistance and innovative community projects.