Policy & Advocacy

The Alliance works on state and national policy initiatives that directly relate to its mission, serving California Certified Farmers’ Markets. We also have several Steering Committee members who are active on the California Department of Agriculture’s Farmers’ Market Advisory Committee.

Current Priorities

In 2023, the Alliance re-engaged and re-launched the Policy Working Group with a clear focus on advocating and amplifying our member’s voices and leveraging impact. Originally, this Policy Working Group was established in 2018 and has gone through periods of actions and inaction. This working group is currently comprised of Alliance steering committee members, an elected chairperson, and Ecology Center staff. Meetings are open to members with a section for member comments.

Here are the working group’s current policy priorities:

  1. AB 605 (2023) CDSS: To influence the development of AB605 to ensure farmers’ markets needs are represented. AB605 is a proposed bill that would scale technology to integrate “Market Match” nutrition incentives onto EBT cards,eventually replacing the scrip system at farmers’ markets. Check out the California Department of Social Services website for more information on the current pilot.
  2. AB 1197 (2023) CAFF/Local Producer Definition: To support in advocating for this bill as it would create a legal definition for a local producer, amplifying local food systems change efforts across the state.
  3. State NA Summer WIC/E-FMNP (2025) Host focus groups with the CA Dept. of Public Health staff to guide the roll out of e-FMNP (seasonal checks going digital) with consideration of the best interests of farmers’ markets.
  4. State NA CDFA Fees/Transparency around CDFA Fee Uses Provide transparency, accountability and improved communication between the CDFA and farmers’ market industry professionals.
  5. Federal NA Advocacy for GusNIP Advocating for a tiered funding approach so that long-standing programs like CA Market Match are not competing with startup pilots in the innovation priority.State NA Getting CNIP funding into the baseline CDFA budget

Working to secure more institutionalized, long-term funding for Market Match and not rely on state grants to keep the program alive. (HR 4856, Crawford &  Kildee)

  1. SB 907 (2022) LEAF / Local Equitable Access to Food

Advocate for funding LEAF, which would provide EBT technical support at Farm Direct sites across CA– making SNAP accessible for Farmers’ market Shoppers while funneling SNAP dollars to local producers.

Starting January 2024, our Alliance website will host updates regarding these important policy discussions. Stay tuned for 2024 Policy Working Group Meeting Dates.

Past Policy Priorities

  • AB 2335 (Ting) – Nutrition Incentives in Corner Stores, a pilot program to provide small retail/corner stores grants for purchasing energy efficient refrigerated produce display boxes and receive technical assistance. Ensures that the CalFresh Market Match program (CNIP) always provides farmers markets a generous portion of the total funds available. SUPPORT
  • AB 2377 (Irwin) – technical assistance for farmers and ranchers seeking to transition to Climate Smart Agriculture. AB 2377 would require that 15 percent of the annual budgets for the State Water Efficiency and Enhancement Program (SWEEP), Alternative Manure Management Program (AMMP), and Healthy Soils Program be used to provide technical assistance to farmers and ranchers applying for those programs. SUPPORT
  • AB 626 (E. Garcia) – The Homemade Food Preparations Act would allow home cooks to sell food via web based apps. Currently, the way it’s written poses a threat to consumers and cooks by protecting the tech companies that manage the online platforms and apps. We ask for an amendment to take the farmer’s market model; only allow non-profits, cook co-ops, or government agencies to operate web-based selling platforms. OPPOSE, UNLESS AMENDED.
  • AB 2909 (Wood) – update of the California Food & Agriculture code to allow small-scale producers of rabbits & birds to hire non-family members, slaughter on farm & be an approved source for sales to hotels, restaurants, retailers and food service institutions if producer registers with CDFA and abides by rearing, slaughter & traceability BMPs. SUPPORT
  • SB 946 (Lara) – this bill would decriminalize sidewalk vending, statewide (especially important regarding current immigration climate and ICE activity). The bill prohibits local authorities from restricting sidewalk vendors unless directly related to objective health, safety, or welfare concerns. SB 946 specifies that economic competition does not constitute an objective health, safety, or welfare concern: This could clearly impact Farmers’ Markets, who are threatened by side-of-the road fruit vendors. Asking for amendment to exclude farmers’ markets from the restrictions on objections. OPPOSE, UNLESS AMENDED

The Farm Bill is the single biggest food, nutrition, and farming omnibus legislation in the country and is passed every five years. The current farm bill is set to expire at the end of September, 2018. The Alliance is working with the national Farmers’ Market Coalition to advocate for policies that support small farmers, direct-marketing, and farmers’ markets. Alliance member, Allen Moy from Pacific Coast Farmers’ Market Association (PCFMA), met with policy makers in Washington, DC in early May and took this one-pager about our FMPP grant.
– Blog Post: Top 5 Threats of the House version of the Farm Bill.
– Update May 18, 2018 – The House voted against the Farm Bill, 198 – 213.

Other Past Policy Efforts

AB 1321 Nutrition Incentive Matching Grant Program, later becoming California Nutrition Incentive Program
AB 2324 Amendment to Direct Marketing legislation
AB 1871 Agricultural products: direct marketing: certified farmers’ markets
AB 2385 Market Match Nutrition Incentive Program