Albany - Assemblymember Crystal D. Peoples-Stokes (D-Buffalo) Chair of the Assembly's Task Force on Food, Farm and Nutrition Policy announced that the State budget preserved or increased funding for nutrition and agriculture programs in the recently passed state budget.
Peoples-Stokes stated, " Last week we passed a good budget that increases funding for programs to help our most vulnerable citizens, children, struggling working families and seniors. Fortunately, the Governor had put forth a budget that will provide more support for schools and human services that have endured several years of cuts or flat funding. The Assembly helped to improve the Governor's proposal including re-directing some funding for different priorities in education and supports for low-income households. The final budget will protect funding for programs that provide food assistance, such as WIC for families with young children and hone-delivered meals to frail seniors who are struggling to put food on the table. It also preserved programs that prevent nutrition-related problems such as diabetes and obesity which will help reduce spending on hospital and doctor visits. And we helped our state's farmers by continuing the modest programs that help them through tough times and restoring funding for programs to help them meet the growing demand for locally-grown food."
The 2012-13 State budget maintains funding for: the hunger prevention program for food banks, soup kitchens and food pantries; the senior home-delivered meal programs; the WIC program; childhood obesity prevention and diabetes prevention. State funding for school meals was actually increased by $600,000 and funding for nutrition outreach to enroll families in SNAP (Food Stamps) went up by $1.3 million.
The legislature restored over $800,000 in funding that the Governor had cut in his proposed budget for the Farm Viability Institute.
"The budget will help our families and farmers, but we need to do more for the increasing number of families needing nutrition assistance to help our children to grow and develop into healthy, productive adults. And we need to support efforts to bring health, local foods to all of our communities across the State," said Peoples-Stokes.