Gov. Kemp proposes program to support Georgia farmers, food banks
Gov. Brian Kemp announced a proposal which will benefit Georgia farmers and food banks on Dec. 20 in a press conference at the Atlanta Community Food Bank.
“At a time when demand for Georgia food bank services has increased, we are proposing legislation to support and leverage an underutilized law that combats agricultural waste and addresses fresh produce shortages in regional food banks,” Kemp said. “Together, we will continue to fight hunger and support our farm families.”
Regional food banks currently receive funding from the USDA’s Emergency Food Assistance Program (TEFAP). At the state level, funds have not been appropriated to a complementary program since its inception in 1998. Gov. Kemp is proposing legislation which will improve the applicable Georgia code and provide a clearer path for the implementation of this program at the state level.
To complement legislative updates, Kemp will include funding in his budget proposal to support this program. Ultimately, these actions will allow more farmers to enter the market and be compensated at a level equal to input costs plus half of appreciation for unsold produce, rather than wasting 4-5 million pounds of surplus produce, as has been the case in recent years.
This program would also help food banks by giving them more resources to purchase Georgia Grown fresh produce, open the market for increased bartering, and better serve their clients. By opening this market, food banks can stretch program funding over more purchases. Additionally, implementation of this program will increase the amount of matching funds Georgia is eligible for under TEFAP.
Kemp was accompanied by leaders of the Georgia Department of Agriculture, the Georgia Department of Human Services, members of the Georgia General Assembly, the Georgia Food Bank Association, the Atlanta Community Food Bank, Georgia Farm Bureau, the Georgia Agribusiness Council, and the Georgia Fruit and Vegetable Growers Association to announce the proposal.