Fresh produce from farmers markets might become more accessible for women, infants and children in low-income families in Missouri as Rep. Martha Stevens introduced House Bill 652 to expand WIC vouchers to be used in the Farmers Market Nutrition Program.
In the Feb. 4 morning hearing, representatives from the Rural Community Committee scrutinized how the bill plans to encourage participation.
In similar food insecurity programs, the Missouri Department of Agriculture saw staggered levels of participation from county to county because of administrative costs.
Rep. Stevens commented on the expectations of the new program.
"I know that this is going to be a new program, we’re still figuring out the farmers market part of the program. So there are going to be some hiccups that we have to factor in, what local agencies are willing to do and how farmers are going to participate, but I think it’s a great opportunity.”
If the bill is passed, the Missouri Department of Agriculture will identify and coordinate with local entities to secure eligible farmers and farmers markets.