Sunday, December 25, 2016

12 days - 12 ways GardenShare is making a difference - day 12

As we review GardenShare's work and successes for the year 2016 - we have saved the best for last!

This past season, farmers market sales to people using their Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP, formerly called food stamps) benefits at the farmers markets increased by 70% as compared to 2015.  $6,536 in SNAP benefits were spent at the five farmers markets in St. Lawrence County this year, compared to $3,834 last year.

In addition to the actual SNAP sales, GardenShare was able to double the value of SNAP purchases, with a combination of a grant from Excellus BlueCross BlueShield, donations from individuals, and the Food Bank of Central New York's CNY Health Bucks program.

This is a win for all!  For low-income families, purchasing fresh, locally grown food can be a challenge because often less healthy foods are also less expensive.  As a result, families make food choices based on their limited budgets rather than nutrition.  The work to provide access to fresh food at the farmers markets is important to families who receive SNAP benefits to improve their diets and health.  It's also important to local farmers who benefit from these additional sales.  And all of these funds stayed in our local economy, rather than with a chain store.

Look for information soon on how we will be building on this program in the new year!

Read the rest of our 12 days series here.