Hunger and obesity are two issues, which have become increasingly linked in recent years, and have affected children and families from low-income backgrounds more significantly than others. These issues pose significant problems for children as they affect a child’s cognitive ability, educational performance, and health and well-being. A number of factors including a lack of access to healthy, nutritious foods and an overabundance of calorie dense eateries in the low-income communities have further exacerbated the issues.

Current policy initiatives, which include the possibility of limiting Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) recipient’s access to unhealthy foods, stand to produce more harm than good. To combat the effects of these issues more responsibly, states, localities and private organizations are teaming together in various communities throughout the country with SNAP pilot programs.

These pilot programs have not only provided SNAP recipients with the ability to discount the price of their purchases at farmers markets, but also it has expanded the access that low-income communities have to healthy, nutritious foods. Similarly, farmers and farmers markets have benefitted from the significant increases in revenue that they have experienced through participating in these pilot programs.

With pilot programs currently thriving in a number of states including Illinois, Massachusetts , Michigan, New York, and Oregon, policymakers should look to these programs as a necessary supplement to SNAP in the fight against hunger and obesity.