PHI and Roots of Change Statement on Continued Funding of the California Nutrition Incentive Program in California’s 2023 State Budget
Statement from Matthew Marsom, Senior Vice President of Programs, Public Policy & Government Relations, Public Health Institute, and Michael Dimock, Director, Roots of Change
The Public Health Institute (PHI) and its program Roots of Change (ROC) applaud the California Legislature and Governor Newsom for including $35 million in California’s 2023 State Budget to protect ongoing operations of the California Nutrition Incentive Program (CNIP). With critical nutrition security programs being threatened at the federal level, California is continuing to support the health of those most in need.
Beginning in 2014, ROC led a campaign to create CNIP with California Assemblymember Phil Ting, who has been an unwavering champion of the CNIP program over the past nine years. CNIP, housed in the California Department of Food and Agriculture, encourages the purchase and consumption of healthy, California–grown fresh fruits and vegetables among shoppers participating in nutrition benefit programs such as SNAP, (known in California as CalFresh).
ROC also led the creation of CNIP’s predecessor and now flagship program, Market Match in 2009-10, which allows shoppers to double their CalFresh benefits when purchasing fruits and vegetables at farmers markets and other farm-direct outlets across California. Beginning in 2013 Berkeley’s Ecology Center assumed leadership of Market Match, expanding it to nearly 270 sites across 38 counties. The program has provided a lifeline to thousands of small and mid-sized farmers and tens of thousands of low-income families participating in CalFresh. Affordable, accessible fruits and vegetables mean better nutrition and health outcomes.
Money spent at farmers markets goes directly into farmers’ pockets and into the rural communities where they live. Research shows that every $1 of incentives spent in farmers markets and farm-direct settings, like Market Match, generates $3 of additional spending in the local economy. Economic security for small and mid-size farmers helps ensure a resilient food system in California and beyond.
In a challenging budget year, the continued and increased funding for CNIP in the State budget is a smart investment that will yield great dividends for families, public health and the economic security of California’s unparalleled food and farming system.