Program connects farmers and struggling families

Farmer's marketBy Virginia Bridges, December 16, 2014

RALEIGH — For years, Britt Farms has resisted taking payment from recipients of the modern equivalent of food stamps.

“It was so expensive and hard to do,” said Jennifer Britt, who oversees sales for the Mount Olive farm that sells vegetables and produce from the State Farmers Market in Raleigh.

But earlier this month, farm owners Jennifer and Vernon Britt listened to a 30-minute spiel and then got in line to sign up for free equipment that would allow them to accept credit, debit and Supplemental Nutrition Assistant Program funds, commonly referred to as SNAP, through Electronic Benefit Transfers.

Read more here:

Employment in NC still below 2007 levels

The Progressive Pulse

by Alexandra Sirota  November 26, 2014


In December 2007, just as the Great Recession started, 62 percent of North Carolina’s working-age population was employed. As of October 2014, employment had fallen to 56.5 percent as measured by the employment to population ratio.

Despite the important milestone Employment Levels in USof replacing all the jobs lost during the Great Recession, North Carolina still has not reached pre-recession employment levels.

– See more at:

SNAP & the Farm Bill

Congress passed the new Farm Bill on February 4, 2014. President Obama is expected to sign the bill into law on Friday, February 7th. The Farm Bill includes $8.55 Billion in cuts to SNAP over the next 10 years. The cuts will come from changes to “Heat and Eat” programs operated in 15 states and Washington, DC. North Carolina does not have a “Heat and Eat” program, so the SNAP benefit cuts included in the Farm Bill will not affect NC households that receive SNAP.*

The states affected by the cuts include: California, Connecticut, Delaware, Maine, Massachusetts, Michigan, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Vermont, Washington, and Wisconsin. As many as 850,000 low-income households in these states and Washington, DC will lose an average of $90 in monthly benefits.

Read Feeding America’s response to the Farm Bill here, and the response by the Food Research & Action Center (FRAC) here.

Read a summary of the Farm Bill compiled by the Center on Budget & Policy Priorities here.

*In North Carolina, SNAP is known as Food & Nutrition Services (FNS).

FNS (SNAP) reductions go into effect

FNS (SNAP) reductions went into effect on November 1 , 2013. The reductions occurred because of an end to the temporary boost in benefits that were part of the 2009 American Recovery & Reinvestment Act. North Carolina is expected to lose $166 million in benefits during the first year of reductions.

The new maximum monthly benefit amounts can be viewed here.

FNS households can call 1-866-719-0141 to learn more about the reductions. 

More information can be found in the Fall 2013 FNS4NC newsletter.

New income limits for Food & Nutrition Services

On October 1, 2013, new income limits went into effect for Food & Nutrition Services (FNS).  If you or someone you know applied for FNS in the past and did not qualify, check the new income limits to see if you qualify now.  View the new income limits here.

NC DSS releases public notice about November cuts to FNS

The North Carolina Division of Social Services (NC DSS) recently released a public notice regarding the cuts to Food & Nutrition Services (FNS) that are scheduled to go into effect on November 1st, 2013.

Read the notice in English here.

Read the notice in Spanish here.




Cuts to FNS on the horizon

Cuts to Food & Nutrition Services (FNS) are scheduled to go into effect on November 1, 2013, resulting in an average benefit of about $1.40 per person per meal. According to the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities, North Carolina will experience $166 million in cuts during fiscal year 2014.

The cuts to FNS will come at a particularly difficult time for low-income North Carolinians. The state currently has the fifth highest unemployment rate in the country. And, recent reductions in unemployment benefits are expected to impact 170,000 unemployed adults in the state during the second half of 2013.

Read more about the looming cuts to FNS in a report by the NC Justice Center.

*Food & Nutrition Services (FNS) is known as SNAP at the federal level.

Food & Nutrition Services boosts fruit consumption

A new report from the U.S. Department of Agriculture reveals that Food & Nutrition Services (referred to as SNAP by the federal government) boosts consumption of whole fruit.  Click here to access the full report.

Food & Nutrition Services is helping during slow economic recovery

An article in the Huffington Post states that SNAP (or FNS, as it’s known in North Carolina) is helping low-income households recover from the Great Recession.  While the recession technically ended in June 2009, recovery has been slow for many low- and middle-income households.  Unemployment remains high in North Carolina (9.4% as of February 2013, one of the highest unemployment rates in the country).  As NC Policy Watch has reported, many of the jobs created in North Carolina since the end of the recession have been in the low-wage service industry.  As a result, many households continue to need the extra support that Food & Nutrition Services provides.  Historically, as households feel more financially secure, FNS participation decreases.



FNS helps working people

North Carolina food banksWorking a full-time job in America doesn’t guarantee you will have enough to eat.  Food & Nutrition Services (known as SNAP at the federal level) helps families who need help buying food.  Despite helping more than 47 million people during these challenging economic times, Congress is considering cutting funding for this important safety net.  Read the full article at Yahoo/