Budget conference: Chambers agree on millions for emergency food distribution, Feeding Florida
TALLAHASSEE, FLA. 12/1/20-Monique Van Pelt, CEO the Second Harvest of the Big Bend Food Bank, left, talks with a group of elected officials and other volunteers during a Giving Tuesday event in Tallahassee. The group prepared 670 bags of Florida Satsuma that was donated to Second Harvest by farmers from Jackson and Jefferson counties for distribution to the hungry. COLIN HACKLEY PHOTO

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Lawmakers on both sides of the Capitol have state and federal funding set aside for that purpose.

The House and Senate are agreeing to devote a whopping $33 million to an emergency food distribution program.

The close-out appears in the latest House Agriculture and Natural Resources Appropriations offer, which showed a number of areas where the chambers have already found common ground.

The massive item is a program facilitated by the Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services (FDACS). Funding comes from the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) to ensure nutritious and high-quality food goes to families requiring public assistance, as well as to distribute and supply both food banks and individuals.

The state works with private partners to distribute the food to Florida families.

The chambers also align on giving $6.5 million to Feeding Florida, a statewide network of food banks. The organization said by bringing those service providers together, it allows the ability to ramp up emergency management relief 300% in times of crisis, such as when a community gets struck by a hurricane or other storm.

“While our food banks are first on the scene with MREs and water, we will also remain until the very end, providing families and individuals with the resources they need while they rebuild their lives,” the Feeding Florida website reads.

The House wants to also provide $500,000 through Feeding Florida in produce incentives for rural retailers, while the Senate hasn’t set anything aside for that.

Both chambers agreed on sending $6.5 million to the Farm Share Program, but a number of specifics remain different in the House and Senate budget. The House wants to provide an additional $2.7 million in operating expenses for FDACS, while the Senate just has a little more than $1.5 million set aside for that purpose.

The chambers still haven’t agreed on a number of issues with individual food providers and programs around the state.

The Senate wants $985,000 for the Florida Green Jobs Youth Initiative, for example, while the House has no money set aside for that purpose.

But both chambers agreed to give upward of $7.8 million to the Citrus Health Response Program.

Jacob Ogles

Jacob Ogles has covered politics in Florida since 2000 for regional outlets including SRQ Magazine in Sarasota, The News-Press in Fort Myers and The Daily Commercial in Leesburg. His work has appeared nationally in The Advocate, Wired and other publications. Events like SRQ’s Where The Votes Are workshops made Ogles one of Southwest Florida’s most respected political analysts, and outlets like WWSB ABC 7 and WSRQ Sarasota have featured his insights. He can be reached at [email protected].


7 comments

  • Christian Nationalist Fort florida

    February 27, 2024 at 6:10 pm

    Maybe try gofundme?

  • Earl Pitts "Sage Political Expert Emeritas" American

    February 27, 2024 at 6:39 pm

    We would not need to feed our Sage Citizenary had the Dook 4 Brains Lefty voters not electid 8iden with his stupid 8idenNomics.
    Thank you,
    Earl Pitts American

    • Christian Nationalist Fort florida

      February 28, 2024 at 2:50 am

      Christians blame others for everything; take responsibility for your people, earl.

  • Michael K

    February 27, 2024 at 8:43 pm

    Finally, an admission that there is a homeless population here, and a significant population of people who cannot afford food – AKA food insecure. I volunteered at a food pantry during the Trump years and was astonished at the number of people who would line up to feed their families and grateful for the services the interfaith coalition provided. DeSantis wants to sweep all that under the rug, but there are a lot of people in every community in this state who are poor and suffering.

  • Dont Say FLA

    February 27, 2024 at 9:53 pm

    Floridians need food? What? Maybe some of the supposed infinite numbers of well-to-do’s moving to Florida from blue states could feed them?

    Or maybe that story about people moving to Florida for any reason beyond “no other choice” is false as Rhonda’s claim of being 5 ’11”

  • Christian Nationalist Fort florida

    February 28, 2024 at 2:51 am

    Defunding Fort florida continues apace.

    You are America’s Gaza.

    • Maga Lardo

      February 28, 2024 at 8:54 am

      We need to build that wall! Along Georgia’s southern border and the Floribama border too.

Comments are closed.


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