The choice to eat local, fresh food is often cost-prohibitive for low-income people. Farm Fresh RI has been working hard to level the financial playing field and create an increased consumer base for local farmers by increasing food stamp benefit usage at farmer’s markets. As you can see, their efforts are really paying off. And they are poised to do far more: earlier this week, they held their annual Local Food Forum, with the theme “Fresh for All” From the Farm Fresh RI report,
In 2007, we began accepting SNAP at our farmers markets and in summer 2009, we partnered with the Wholesome Wave Foundation to offer Bonus Bucks to SNAP customers at our markets. Every SNAP customer could receive up to $10 extra to shop at the market per day. The Bonus Bucks program allows people to stretch their food budgets farther and still provide healthy foods for their family. The Bonus Bucks program also increases the buying power of communities that may be otherwise be perceived by farmers as less lucrative. Farmers, after all, have to make a buck too.
With more Rhode Islanders than ever participating in the SNAP (food stamps) program, this effort is a vital choice for strengthening local families and local food economies. I’ll be thinking about all of this as I start some early lettuce seeds this weekend.