Last year, California passed a modest bill that should have been a no-brainer. The California Nutrition Incentives Act set up a program to discount fruits and vegetables for CalFresh shoppers at farmers markets and farm stands.
Like the wholesome produce it was aimed at, the new program had ridiculous upsides: Healthier food for low-income families. More business for small farmers. Rural jobs. Matching federal dollars. An established pilot with a solid, years-long track record tied neatly to California’s version of food stamps.
All that remained was a little state money to attract matching funds authorized by the 2014 Farm Bill when, at the last minute – in a fit of fiscal restraint or low blood sugar, we aren’t sure which – state lawmakers and Gov. Jerry Brown blanked the appropriation.