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Holiday Good News

Closer to home, in California, people receiving federal nutrition assistance are encouraged to shop at farmers’ markets thanks to the efforts of the California Farmers’ Market Consortium project. A healthy alternative for consumers who typically favor cheap bargains, as well as a bonus for farmers.

In 2009, less than 0.01 percent of food stamps (now known as Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program or SNAP) was redeemed at farmers’ markets, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture, although one-fourth of the nation’s 6,000 or so farmers’ markets accept them. The major challenge, obviously, is cost.

Enter the California Farmers’ Market Consortium project, an initiative created last year by Roots of Change with $1 million dollars in Specialty Crop Block Grant funding from the California Department of Food and Agriculture (CDFA). Here is how it works: Roots of Change uses matching philanthropic dollars to provide “top up” matching money of 50 or 100 percent (depending on the market) to increase buying power. Bonus vouchers are given to recipients of nutrition assistance when they shop at participating farmers’ markets to purchase fresh produce. These include seniors and recipients of SNAP, as well as WIC clients (a supplemental nutrition program for Women, Infants and Children).

About 850 farmers who sell their crops in 48 farmers’ markets in eight counties currently benefit from the extra sales. The Consortium is working hard at expanding its network of partners across the State.

Here’s to acknowledging the commitment and dedicated efforts of all the “food” soldiers who are determined to making our world a better place through the transformation of our relationship to food and farming.

Happy Holidays!

Read more: Blogs, Christmas, Community, Conscious Consumer, General Health, Hanukkah, Holidays, Life, New Year, The Green Plate, , , , , ,

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Laetitia Mailhes

Laetitia Mailhes is a French-born journalist. After many years as the technology and innovation correspondent of the French "Financial Times" in San Francisco, she decided to focus on what truly matters to her: sustainable food and farming. Find more articles and videos on her blog, The Green Plate Blog.

37 comments

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11:16AM PST on Dec 28, 2010

Interesting, thanks!

7:51AM PST on Dec 28, 2010

Very encouraging...let's keep it up!

10:29PM PST on Dec 27, 2010

nice to read that markets accept foodstamps, thanks

3:56PM PST on Dec 26, 2010

Vegies you grow yourself taste so much better and you know there are no chemicles on them.

5:15AM PST on Dec 26, 2010

Noted!!

4:21PM PST on Dec 25, 2010

I really enjoy these green city articles. There are all kinds of empty spaces were (if one were to ask) a garden could easily be planted. If planting on a roof make sure the roof can bare the weight, as minkie amoroso recommended in a previous comment.

4:48AM PST on Dec 24, 2010

Very nice article, thanks.

1:51AM PST on Dec 24, 2010

It's cool that markets accept food stamps, I did not know that.

12:29AM PST on Dec 24, 2010

Thanks for the article.

10:25PM PST on Dec 23, 2010

Not only are people able to feed
themselves, but they get to know how
and why things grow. There is nothing
so amazing than watching a seed you
plant pop up and thrive, then offer
you something to eat! Sadly, where
I live now, all the wild critters get
to eat 90% of what I grow. I'm
thinking of dastardly things to do for
next spring. 36 wild turkeys can wipe
out a crop before you know it.

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Disclaimer: The views expressed above are solely those of the author and may not reflect those of
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