SEMAP has been deeply concerned about a recent decision made by the USDA that has a profound impact on our most vulnerable population. An incentive program that supports access to fresh local food for SNAP* clients changed contractors with a domino effect that puts Massachusetts’ highly successful Healthy Incentives Program (HIP) at risk, leaving our farmers and farmers markets without a way to process electronic transactions for these incentive programs. For some farmers, it will eliminate their ability to process credit and debit transactions as well.
When a bureaucratic decision has such a devastating local effect it is staggering – especially when the notification comes, for the majority of our local organizations, through a Washington Post article. It exposes the vulnerability of our food system to technological and administrative decisions at the Federal level and shows the need for local resiliency and solutions based close to the heart of our communities.