California food banks, farmers get relief through new statewide partnership

California Connection

SACRAMENTO, Calif. (KTXL) — California farms wrestling with low demand and food banks struggling to keep items in stock are linking up in a new statewide program.

“Our farmers this year have gone through quite a shockwave like all of us have, but they’re working every day to continue the kind of bountiful, nutritious productivity that is a hallmark of California,” said

California Secretary of Agriculture Karen Ross during Gov. Gavin Newsom’s daily COVID-19 news briefing Wednesday.

Newsom announced a statewide partnership between the state’s 41 food banks and 128 farmers and ranchers to provide 21 million pounds of fresh produce a month.

Newsom said another 200 farmers are interested in joining.

“Connecting California’s farms, farmworkers connecting to our food banks and getting product and produce that would literally be thrown away as waste and now, providing a tax credit to farmers of 15%,” said Newsom.

The governor also announced the federal government is helping California expand its Cal Fresh food stamps program.

As of Wednesday, Electronic Benefit Transfer card recipients, also known as EBT card holders, can now use their benefits at online grocery stores like Walmart and amazon, providing more convenience and safety from covid19 for 2.2 million families.

Another waiver from the federal government’s CARES Act will also provide up to an extra $375 dollars in what’s being considered “pandemic EBT” for millions of children that would qualify for free or reduced meals at school.

“The framework for the eligibility is a 64-day period from March to the middle of June, the universe of available dollars is rather large,” said Newsom?

To continue to help those who are food insecure, Newsom said there is still a need for volunteers at food banks across the state. He encourages anyone who can help, to sign up.

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