New Jersey’s urban farmers need more funding to fight food insecurity

In January, Senate Majority Leader Teresa Lewis (D-Essex) introduced legislation establishing a statewide Urban Farming Subsidy and Loan Program. Under the bill, applicants would have to enter into agreements with their local school districts to provide school-age youth with healthy food choices.

Senator Nellie Pou (D-Passaic), the bill’s second lead proponent, said food insecurity was an ongoing concern for some legislators.

“Recognizing the fact that just under 900,000[New Jerseyers]are eligible for SNAP is an absolute concern, as it indicates the affordability of food and the availability of healthy foods. , will be a concern for the urban environment,” Pou said.

Lawmakers also introduced legislation directing the USDA to create a pilot program to administer grants of up to $35,000 to three eligible urban horticulture initiatives in low-income areas statewide.

Applicants should, among other things, teach community members how to plant and grow fresh produce.

Neither bill has gone through a committee hearing.

“It was referred to the committee,” Pou said of the grant and loan program she co-sponsored. “I hope the chair will consider the submission.”

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