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Gov. Kemp on New Initiative Benefiting Food Banks and Farmers

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

Governor Brian Kemp announced a new initiative aimed at assisting farmers and food banks.

Kemp is proposing a plan to use state funding to supplement federal funding to food banks from the Department of Agriculture’s Emergency Food Assistance Program, which was implanted in 1998.

“It is one of my budget priorities to support this program and to bring it to full functionality to benefit both Georgia farmers who have excess crop and citizens who utilize the state’s food banks to put nutritious food on their tables,” Kemp said.

Kemp said the measure will help end the cycle of hunger and chronic disease by increasing access to healthy food while supporting the farm families who provide it.

The move will allow more farmers to enter the market and get paid at for their costs, plus half appreciation for unsold produce. According to the governor, in recent years, four to five million pounds of produce has gone to waste.

Kemp was joined by several state officials and food bank representatives when he made the announcement Monday afternoon.

Georgia Food Bank Association Executive Director Danah Craft said they distributed 45 million pounds of fresh produce last year and more is needed.

“We know from the last hunger study that 58% of the households we have at least one member with high blood pressure and 33% of those households have someone with diabetes,” according to Craft. “An innovative program like this that increases our access to Georgia grown produce is going to help us break the cycle of chronic illness that’s created by food-related problems.”

Georgia will receive matching federal funds for the program.