In honor of National Farmer’s Day, the Connecticut Department of Agriculture and Governor Ned Lamont are asking Connecticut residents to incorporate locally grown and produced items into every meal this fall
This fall, the Connecticut Department of Agriculture’s (CT DoAg) CT Grown program challenges consumers across the state to “Put CT Grown On Your Plate,” a new program that asks residents to make room on their plates for Connecticut-grown or produced foods at every meal.
This program serves as a reminder to all Connecticut residents that they have the opportunity to incorporate fresh, healthy, and delicious foods into their everyday diets while also supporting the state’s agriculture and aquaculture communities.
“When you eat food that was grown in Connecticut, you are not only getting a nutritious meal, but you are also supporting your neighbors who work in Connecticut’s agriculture industry,” Governor Ned Lamont said. “With more than a hundred farmers’ markets operating across the state and dozens upon dozens of stores selling locally grown food, everyone has the opportunity to support Connecticut farmers.”
Connecticut is home to more than 5,500 farms covering more than 380,000 acres. The state’s agriculture industry supports 22,000 jobs in production, processing, or agribusiness and contributes approximately $4 billion to the state’s economy each year. With more than 100 farmers’ markets operating across the state, Connecticut consumers have access to fresh, local foods year-round. Eating local foods supports farmers and growers, bolsters the state’s economy, and greatly benefits the general public health.
“Adding CT Grown foods to your meal plans is a great way to promote healthy eating habits while supporting our state’s diverse array of farmers and producers,” said Bryan P. Hurlburt, Commissioner of CT DoAg. “Incorporating these locally grown or made foods can be as simple as packing an apple or milk in your child’s lunch box or seeking out the CT Grown logo at your local grocery store or dining venue.”
Through a pair of programs — Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) and the Farmers’ Market Nutrition Program (FMNP), Connecticut Grown food products are accessible to families of all income levels and budgets.
The Connecticut Department of Agriculture strongly encourages people who receive SNAP benefits to use them at farmers’ markets. Most markets accept these benefits, allowing them to be used for the purchase of fruits, vegetables, cut herbs, and honey. Some markets help these benefits go even further by doubling benefits for fruit and vegetable purchases.
Most farmers’ markets in Connecticut are affiliated with FMNP, which serves participants of Women, Infants, and Children (WIC) and seniors over the age of 60 and meets income eligibility guidelines with funds through an app or card to purchase fresh fruits, vegetables, cut herbs, and honey. The FMNP program is accessible between July 1 and November 30 each year.