Why EBT (CalFresh/ food stamps) is important to the market and the community

Saturday June 11 is SAVOR SATURDAY – Sonoma Alliance for Veggie Outreach Revolution
(The second Saturday of every month)
Doctors from Vista Medical Clinic to talk about FOOD AS MEDICINE and answer people’s health questions.
Ttwo chefs cooking:Wendy Kohatsu who is also a doctor at the clinic and Hasna Wood who is an acupuncturist and organic farm It is cherries, apricots and peach season so the emphasis will be on fruit recipes.

It’s always lots of fun, yummy and you will learn something too! Fun activities for kids including a scavenger hunt at the market

Making sure everyone who is eligible for food assistance is a win-win..from Sonoma Food Stamps

The additional step of making sure farmers markets could accept EBT (food stamps)
was another win-win.

A new study shows permitting low-income women to shop at a local farmers’ market increase fruit and vegetable consumption in poor families.

Another recent study discussed in a recent edition of the Atlantic Monthly, demonstrates it’s a myth That farmers markets are more expensive than grocery stores.

Astoundingly, organic items at farmers’ markets were nearly 40 percent cheaper than they were at neighboring supermarkets.

Claro’s study reinforces the findings of other groups looking into pricing at farmers’ markets. In 2007, Stacey Jones, an economics professor at the University of Seattle, had her students compare costs of 15 items at a farmers’ market and a nearby supermarket. The farmers’ market was slightly less expensive. The Leopold Center for Sustainable Agriculture compared prices of conventional food in four Iowa cities and found that the farmers’ market prices were often equal to or lower than those at grocery stores.

Of California’s 58 counties, Sonoma ranks 52nd in the percentage of eligible people who are signed up for the program. The eligibility analysis is based on the number of residents whose income is at or below 125 percent of the federal poverty level as determined by state enrollment and census data from 2008, the latest figures available.
“The level of hardship is so severe that we may find we are failing to reach many more people who need these benefits during these tough times,” said George Manalo-LeClair, senior director of legislation for California Food Policy Advocates.
The county ranking is not a measure of overall food stamp participation because it does not take into account the number of people who are ineligible for various reasons, including immigration status and other financial considerations, said Manalo-LeClair. But it does show how the county is doing compared to other counties.
Manalo-LeClair said federal studies show that the California itself ranks second to last in terms of overall participation and “dead last in its participation rate among the working poor.”
In addition to providing a safety net for low-income residents, CalFresh act as an economic stimulus. Although the average monthly benefit in Sonoma County is $280, a total of $3.5 million in CalFresh benefits goes to county households each month. It’s estimated that every CalFresh dollar used in the county generates $1.37 in related spending.
“CalFresh benefits are almost always spent locally, and stay in the community,” said Marion Deeds, director of the county Human Services Department’s Economic Development Division “Our local farmers and farmers’ markets get the benefit of these dollars, and low-income families have a chance to purchase fruits and vegetables so fresh they might have been picked from the farm that morning. Everybody wins.”