§8 - Note
An Act concerning the provision of fresh produce to urban communities, and supplementing Title 4 of the Revised Statutes.
Be It Enacted by the Senate and General Assembly of the State of New Jersey:
1. This act shall be known, and may be cited 2,2 as 2[,]2 the “New Jersey Fresh Mobiles 3Pilot Program3 Act.”
2. a. The Legislature finds and declares that there are certain urban areas of the State, known as “food desert” communities, in which residents are unable to obtain reasonable and adequate access to nutritious foods and, in particular, to fresh fruits and vegetables; that the inaccessibility of nutritious food in urban food desert communities has been attributed, in large part, to the absence therein of supermarkets, grocery stores, and farmers’ markets and the prevalence therein of businesses like liquor stores and convenience marts, which provide convenient and affordable access only to pre-processed foods, generally high in empty calories, sugar, unhealthy preservatives, and harmful fats, and low in nutritional value; that low-income families are more likely than others to live in urban food desert communities and to lack the transportation or financial resources necessary to reach distant wholesome markets; that, as is evidenced by the work of various non-profit and private entities across the United States, the accessibility to, desire for, and use of, fresh produce by residents of urban food desert communities can be improved through the provision of mobile farmers’ markets, which regularly travel to and from these communities, and which provide fresh produce 1[at discounted prices]1 to 1[low-income]1 residents situated therein; and that the institution of a 3[Statewide and State-regulated]3 mobile farmers’ market 1[and fresh produce voucher]1 initiative is a reasonable means by which to ensure that 3[all similarly situated]3 residents 1[, and particularly all similarly situated low-income residents]1 of urban food desert communities in the State 1[,]1 are provided with reasonable access to nutritious, fresh, 1and1 delicious 1[, and reasonably priced]1 produce, and are afforded the opportunity thereby to make healthier eating choices for themselves and for their families.
b. The Legislature therefore determines that it is both reasonable and necessary to authorize the Department of Agriculture to 3[establish and regulate a Statewide] develop and assist in the implementation of a pilot program to establish a3 mobile farmers’ market 1[and fresh produce voucher]1 initiative that will 3[enable the State to]3 provide a consistent, and easily accessible, source of fresh 1[and affordable]1 produce to 1[low-income]1 residents in urban food desert communities 3[throughout the State] in municipalities selected to participate in the pilot program3 .
3. For the purposes of this act:
“Department” means the Department of Agriculture.
“Federal food stamp assistance program” means the federal food stamp program authorized by Title XIII of the “Food and Agriculture Act of 1977,” Pub.L.95-113 (7 U.S.C. s.2011 et seq.).
“Federal WIC program” means the Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants and Children, established pursuant to the federal “Child Nutrition Act of 1966,” Pub.L.89-642 (42 U.S.C. s.1771 et seq.).
“Fresh mobile vendor” or “vendor” means a person who has been qualified 3[by the department]3, pursuant to paragraph 1[(2)] (1)1 of subsection b. of section 4 of this act, to provide fresh produce to residents of urban food desert communities.
“Fresh Mobiles Initiative” or “Initiative” means the “New Jersey Fresh Mobiles Initiative 3Pilot Program3,” established and 3[regulated by the department] developed3 pursuant to this act.
1[“Low-income resident” means a person who resides in an urban food desert community, as delineated by the department pursuant to section 5 of this act, and who satisfies the requirements of section 8 of this act, pertaining to the establishment of financial need]
“Low-income food voucher” means any type of food voucher, coupon, stamp, certificate, written authorization, or benefits card, which has been issued to a person by a government entity in accordance with the provisions of the federal food stamp assistance program, the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, the federal WIC program, the New Jersey Supplementary Food Stamp Program, the Work First New Jersey program, or any other federal or State level nutrition or income assistance program now or hereafter established by law1 .
“Mobile venue” means a food truck or other vehicle 3[, approved by the department for use in the initiative pursuant to paragraph 1[(4)] (3)1 of subsection b. of section 4 of this act, which vehicle shall serve] serving3 as a base of operations from which a fresh mobile vendor may offer fresh produce for sale to consumers in urban food desert communities 3through participation in the Fresh Mobiles Initiative Pilot Program3 .
“New Jersey Supplementary Food Stamp Program” means the State level food stamp program, established pursuant to P.L.1998, c.32 2[(C.44:10-80 et seq.)] (C.44:10-79 et seq.)2, which applies to non-citizens who were rendered ineligible for federal food stamp program assistance by section 402 of the federal “Personal Responsibility and Work Opportunity Reconciliation Act of 1996,” Pub.L.104-193 (8 U.S.C. s.1612 2[et seq.]2).
3“Participating municipality” means a municipality, or physically contiguous urban area in the State, which qualifies as an urban food desert selected by the Secretary of Agriculture to participate in the Fresh Mobiles Initiative Pilot Program established pursuant to this act.3
“Secretary” means the Secretary of Agriculture.
“Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program” means the supplemental nutrition assistance program, established pursuant to the federal “Food and Nutrition Act of 2008,” Pub.L.88-525 (7 U.S.C. 2011 et seq.).
1[“Social Security Income” means income or benefits received pursuant to Title XVI of the federal Social Security Act, as amended, Pub.L.92-603 (42 U.S.C. s.1381 et seq.), or pursuant to P.L.1973, c.256 (C.44:7-85 et seq.).]1
“Urban food desert,” “urban food desert community,” or “community” means a 3[1city,]3 municipality, or1 physically contiguous urban area in the State, 1[the boundaries of]1 3[which 1[have been delineated] is selected and designated as such1 by the 1[department in accordance with the provisions of] Secretary of Agriculture pursuant to1 section 5 of this act] in which residents have limited access to nutritious foods, such as fresh fruits and vegetables, through supermarkets, grocery stores, and farmers’ markets3 .
“Vendor supply area” means a specific street location in a 3[food desert community] participating municipality3 where qualified fresh mobile vendors may offer their fresh produce for sale to consumers 3as part of the pilot program authorized3 pursuant to 1[paragraph (1) of subsection a. of section 6] 3[section 51 of]3 this act.
“Work First New Jersey” means the Work First New Jersey temporary public assistance program, established pursuant to P.L.1997, c.38 (C.44:10-55 et seq.) in accordance with authorization received under 2Title IV of2 the federal “Personal Responsibility and Work Opportunity Reconciliation Act of 1996,” Pub.L.104-193 2[(8 U.S.C. s.1612 et seq.)] (8 U.S.C. s.1601 et seq.)2.
4. a. In order to promote and facilitate improved access to fresh produce by low-income residents of urban food deserts 3[in the State]3 , the Department of Agriculture shall 3[establish a Statewide] develop and assist in the implementation of a3 mobile farmers’ market 1[and fresh produce voucher]1 3pilot3 program, to be known as the “New Jersey Fresh Mobiles Initiative.” 3The pilot program shall operate in one or more municipalities, selected by the Secretary of Agriculture, in which residents have limited access to nutritious foods through supermarkets, grocery stores, and farmers’ markets, which agree to participate in the program. The department shall identify, on its Internet website, the municipalities selected for participation, and the vendor supply areas at which, and the times during which, fresh mobile vendors will be accessible for community residents. The pilot program shall operate for a period of at least one year. No later than one year after the pilot program is established and becomes effective, the department shall submit to the Governor and, pursuant to section 2 of P.L.1991, c.164 (C.52:14-19.1), to the Legislature, a written report containing information on the implementation of the pilot program, including a recommendation on the feasibility and desirability of implementing the initiative on a Statewide basis.3
b. As a part of the Fresh Mobiles Initiative 3Pilot Program3 , the department shall 3be authorized to3 :
(1) 1[develop, in accordance with the provisions of section 5 of this act, a complete map identifying all urban food desert communities in the State;
(2)]1 establish 3[standards,]3 qualifications 3[, and conditions]3 for fresh mobile vendors 3[, as may be necessary to ensure both the freshness of produce sold and the quality of customer service provided to consumers under the initiative, and issue licenses or permits, as is appropriate and necessary, to persons who are qualified under those standards and in accordance with the provisions of this act] and assist the participating municipalities in identifying and recruiting appropriate qualified persons3 to act as fresh mobile vendors 3in the pilot program to be operated in the participating municipality, provided that the vendors agree to accept any low-income food vouchers as payment at the mobile venues established under the pilot program as a condition of participation in the program3 ;
1[(3)] (2)1 3[designate] assist the participating municipalities in designating3 one or more vendor supply areas to be 1[utilized] used1 for vendor sales 3[in each urban food desert community]3 , which designations shall ensure a high level of accessibility to vendors by community residents;
1[(4)] 3[(3)1 authorize fresh mobile vendors to purchase or otherwise obtain, and to 1[utilize] use1 , mobile venues for purposes of the initiative, and establish inspection and approval or permitting procedures through which the department may ensure the sanitation and safety of mobile venues 1[utilized] used1 by vendors;
1[(5)] (4)1 establish,] (3)3 coordinate 3[,]3 and encourage partnerships between 3the participating municipalities and such3 fresh mobile vendors as 3[is]3 deemed necessary to better enable and ensure the prompt or efficient delivery of fresh produce to urban food desert communities and the provision of a year-round supply of 1[low-cost,]1 fresh produce 3[to all urban food desert communities in the State] through the pilot program3 ;
1[(6) establish and regulate a fresh produce voucher program, in accordance with the provisions of section 8 of this act, to enable low-income residents of urban food desert communities to obtain discounted prices on produce offered for sale through fresh mobile vendors;
(7)] 3[(5)1 establish seasonal and other purchasing incentive programs to be implemented as part of the initiative, which incentive programs shall be designed]
(4) take appropriate actions3 to encourage consumer participation in the initiative and increase consumer familiarity with regard to the various types of produce offered by fresh mobile vendors;
3[1(6) direct the fresh mobile vendors to accept any low-income food vouchers as payment at the established mobile venues and vendor supply areas, and]
(5) take appropriate actions to3 encourage, at the discretion of the individual fresh mobile vendor, the acceptance of any method of payment, including, but not limited to, cash, credit, or check;1
1[(8)] 3[(7)1] (6)3 develop educational and informational materials for distribution to consumers, which materials may incorporate information pertaining to the nutritional value of fruits and vegetables, the importance of incorporating fresh produce into the diet, or any other topic that is relevant to the work of the initiative; and
1[(9)] 3[(8)1 adopt] (7) take such other actions, including but not limited to adopting3 rules and regulations 3[, within 180 days following the effective date of this act, and]3 pursuant to the “Administrative Procedure Act,” P.L.1968, c.410 (C.52:14B-1 et seq.), 3[as may be necessary] that the secretary deems necessary or appropriate3 to implement the provisions of this act.
1[5. a. Within 120 days after the effective date of this act, the department shall develop a map that delineates the location of every urban food desert community in the State.
b. The department shall delineate the boundaries of an urban food desert community based on its evaluation of various combined factors, which shall include, but need not be limited to:
(1) the physical proximity of the area to the nearest grocery store, supermarket, or farmers’ market;
(2) the availability and expense of public transportation to and from the nearest grocery store, supermarket, or farmers’ market, and the number of automobile owners in the area;
(3) the average financial status of persons residing in the area;
(4) the number and density of liquor stores and convenience marts in the area; and
(5) any other demographic, economic, or sociological factors that may be relevant to the determination required by this section.
c. The department may consult with, and obtain assistance or request data from, any other State agency, instrumentality, or entity, or from any appropriate private or non-profit organization, in fulfilling its duties under this section.
d. (1) The completed urban food desert map, which has been developed by the department in accordance with subsection a. of this section, shall be made available for review by the public through posting on the department’s Internet website.
(2) The department shall review, on an annual basis, the accuracy of the urban food desert map developed pursuant to subsection a. of this section, and shall make any necessary revisions thereto. Any revised versions of the urban food desert map shall be made available for review by the public through posting on the department’s Internet website.
(3) Hard copies of the department’s urban food desert map, and any revised version thereof, shall be made available to a governmental entity, instrumentality, or agency, or to a member of the public, upon request.]1
1[6. a. The department shall utilize the urban food desert map developed pursuant to section 5 of this act, and any revised versions thereof:
(1) to designate, and reevaluate as necessary, in accordance with the provisions of paragraph (3) of subsection b. of section 4 of this act, appropriate street locations to be utilized as vendor supply areas in each urban food desert community;
(2) to evaluate the efficacy of the initiative as a whole; and
(3) for any other purpose relevant to the initiative.
b. The department shall identify, on its Internet website, and for each urban food desert community that is identified on the department’s urban food desert map, the vendor supply areas at which, and the times during which, fresh mobile vendors will be accessible by community residents.]1
3[15. a. Within 120 days after the effective date of this act, the Secretary of Agriculture shall select a minimum of one city in each of the three regions of the State, northern, central, and southern New Jersey, in which to implement the Fresh Mobiles Initiative, and shall designate, at the discretion of the secretary, the entire city or certain areas within the city as an urban food desert community and the vendor supply areas within the urban food desert community. The secretary may select additional cities or municipalities for inclusion in the initiative, at the secretary’s discretion.
b. Per the selection and direction of the secretary pursuant to subsection a. of this section, the department shall implement the initiative. The department shall identify, on its Internet website, the selected cities, and the vendor supply areas at which, and the times during which, fresh mobile vendors will be accessible for community residents.
c. Annually, the secretary shall evaluate the efficacy of the 2[program] initiative2 and shall modify the 2[program] initiative2 as deemed necessary to maximize its positive impact on the residents of areas of the State that are determined by the secretary to be urban food desert communities.1]3
1[7.] 3[ 6.1 a. Using the standards and conditions, and the licensing or permitting procedures developed by the department in accordance with paragraph 1[(2)] (1)1 of subsection b. of section 4 of this act, the department shall establish a network of fresh mobile]
5. a. The department shall work with participating municipalities to identify and recruit appropriate and qualified persons to serve as3 vendors to provide fresh produce for sale to residents in urban food desert communities 3[throughout the State] in participating municipalities3 .
b. In 3[establishing a network of fresh mobile vendors] implementing subsection a. of this section3 , the department 2[may solicit or approve participation by] shall use to the maximum extent practicable2 in-State 2[or out-of-State]2 produce farmers, collaborative farmers’ organizations, or private, non-profit, or governmental entities that are engaged in fresh produce rescue efforts, such as 2[the rescue efforts employed by]2 the New Jersey Agricultural Society in its “Farmers Against Hunger” program 2and the New Jersey Federation of Food Banks, which is the network of food banks which exist in New Jersey2. The department shall encourage the State’s produce farmers 2and other entities2 to participate in the initiative as fresh mobile vendors.
The department shall make 3[every]3 reasonable 3[effort] efforts3 to ensure, through the adoption of appropriate regulatory requirements or otherwise, that a consistent, year-round supply of reasonably priced fresh produce, sufficient to satisfy the fresh produce needs of residents in 3[all] the3 urban food desert communities in the 3[State] participating municipalities3 , will be made available by the 3[network of]3 fresh mobile vendors 3recruited to participate in the pilot program3 . 2In the event that in-State produce farmers are unable to meet the needs of residents in the designated communities, the secretary may 3[use] recruit3 out-of-State produce farmers to meet those needs.2
1[8.] 3[7.1] 6.3 a. Any person may participate as a consumer in the Fresh Mobiles Initiative.
b. 1[A person shall be entitled to obtain fresh produce vouchers as a part of the Fresh Mobiles Initiative only if the person:
(1) is a resident of an urban food desert community, as delineated by the department in accordance with section 5 of this act; and
(2) has financial need, as determined by the department in accordance with the provisions of subsection c. of this section.
c. A person shall be determined to have financial need for the purposes of subsection b. of this section if the person establishes, in accordance with procedures established by the department, that the person:
(1) has a household income of not more than 185 percent of the federal poverty income guidelines, which are published annually by the United States Department of Health and Human Services;
(2) is currently receiving Social Security Income; or
(3)] A person who1 is currently enrolled as a participant in:
1[(a)] (1)1 the federal food stamp assistance program;
1[(b)] (2)1 the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program;
1[(c)] (3)1 the federal WIC program;
1[(d)] (4)1 the New Jersey Supplementary Food Stamp Program;
1[(e)] (5)1 Work First New Jersey; or
1[(f)] (6)1 any other federal or State level nutrition or income assistance program now or hereafter established by law 1may use, to the extent such use is consistent with the requirements of the programs, low-income food vouchers to purchase fruits and vegetables from fresh mobile vendors1 .
1[d.] c.1 The department 3[shall] may3 1[establish procedures] adopt rules and regulations as necessary1 to facilitate 1[timely departmental determinations of voucher entitlement under this section, and to enable the efficient distribution of vouchers to persons who have been qualified under this section for receipt thereof. The department shall determine, on a case-by-case basis, and in accordance with rules and regulations adopted by the department, the appropriate number and value of vouchers to be issued to a person who has satisfied the conditions of this section.
e. The department shall establish procedures to enable and facilitate the redemption of fresh produce vouchers by vendors who have accepted the vouchers from qualified persons as full or partial payment for fresh produce sold in accordance with the provisions of this act.
f. Fresh produce vouchers issued by the department in accordance with this section shall be valid only for the purchase of produce from an authorized fresh mobile vendor] the acceptance of low-income food vouchers by fresh mobile vendors in accordance with subsection b. of this section and paragraph 3[(6)] (1)3 of subsection b. of section 4 of this act1 .
1[9.] 3[8.1] 7.3 a. 1[For the purposes of advertising, promoting, and facilitating the Fresh Mobiles Initiative, the] The1 Secretary of Agriculture is authorized to receive and 1[utilize] expend1 , for the purposes specified in subsection b. of this section, any moneys that are obtained thereby through:
(1) appropriations or allocations of funds to the department for purposes consistent with this act 2, except for moneys allocated for the State Food Purchase Program2;
(2) grant or loan awards made available to the department for purposes consistent with this act;
(3) direct contributions, gifts, legacies, bequests, or endowments for purposes consistent with this act; and
(4) any other source for purposes consistent with this act.
b. The secretary shall deposit all moneys received pursuant to subsection a. of this section in a special account to be known as the “New Jersey Fresh Mobiles Operation Fund.” The 1[Secretary] secretary1 may expend the moneys deposited in the fund, in addition to any interest accrued thereon, and any dividends and returns resulting from investment of the moneys in the fund, for any of the following purposes:
(1) 1[providing financing for the fresh produce voucher program authorized pursuant to section 8 of this act;
(2)]1 advertising and publicizing the initiative;
1[(3)] (2)1 developing and distributing educational materials as part of the initiative;
1[(4)] (3)1 providing financing for any studies that are reasonably necessary to 3[ensure] evaluate3 the 1[continued accuracy of the department’s urban food desert map] efficacy of the Fresh Mobiles Initiative1 3Pilot Program3 ;
1[(5)] (4)1 offsetting any costs incurred by the department 3or participating municipalities3 in complying with the provisions of this act; and
1[(6)] (5)1 providing financing for any other activity or endeavor that is consistent with the purposes of this act, and that will support, or facilitate the efficient and effective operation of, the Fresh Mobiles Initiative 3Pilot Program3 .
1[10.] 3[9.1] 8.3 This act shall take effect 3[immediately] on the first day of the sixth month following enactment, except that the Secretary of Agriculture may take such anticipatory action as may be necessary to implement the provisions of this act3 .
The “New Jersey Fresh Mobiles Pilot Program Act.”