Do you or someone you know struggle to have enough to eat. Wednesday, September 14th there is a special program at the market to introduce Cal-Fresh recipients to the Market Match and shopping at the farmers market. Come even if you just want to learn more about Cal-Fresh and other opportunities for assistance to low-income grocery shoppers.
Under the expanded Market Match program, local food stamp recipients will be able to allocate $10 to $20 of their monthly benefits and in return receive $20 to $40 worth of paper scrip to purchase fruits and vegetables at farmers markets.
Seeking to help local farmers and put more nutritious foods on the plates of poor families, the federal government and North Bay nonprofits are teaming up to expand a program that increases low-income shoppers’ spending power when they buy fruit and vegetables at farmers markets
For the North Bay, about $80,000 in federal funds will be provided to shoppers in the next two years, to be augmented by funds from local groups.
The Market Match program is great. Many people are helped with the same dollars. The program has 30 regional partners working at 230 farmers markets in the state, an increase from about 150 last year.
Low-income shoppers with CalFresh electronic benefits cards currently spend up to $3,800 a month at county farmers markets. The market sales represents a tiny fraction of the $5.4 million that is spent monthly in the county for food by CalFresh clients.
If the incentive program can increase farm market sales by even a relatively modest amount, “it would have a significant impact on business for small-scale farmers,” said Grady, who runs the organization’s Petaluma Bounty program.
The local markets qualified for the federal aid by raising matching money from such local groups as Kaiser Permanente, St. Joseph Health, Petaluma Healthcare District, Slow Food Russian River and the Santa Rosa Sunrise Rotary Club.
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