Mary Washington Hospital Community Benefit Fund Awards Grant for Healthy Food Access at Farmers Markets

July 1, 2013 | By More

The Farmers Market.co and the George Washington Regional Commission are pleased to announce a 2013-2014 grant award from the Mary Washington Hospital Community Benefit Fund.  The $20,000 grant supports Nutrition Incentives at four area farmers markets to increase healthy food access for low-income families. The award supports operation of the SNAP (Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, formerly food stamps) EBT (Electronic Benefit Transfer) program that enables recipients to use their federal nutrition benefits at farmers markets. The program also provides a $10 weekly match for SNAP families to purchase additional fresh fruits and vegetables.

By providing a financial incentive to use SNAP benefits at the farmers markets, the Nutrition Incentive Program helps low-income shoppers afford additional healthy, locally grown fruits and vegetables. By connecting SNAP families with fresh local foods, use of federal nutrition benefits at farmers markets also supports local family farms and bolsters the local economy. With $4.2 million in SNAP benefits distributed monthly in Planning District 16, SNAP dollars provide significant growth potential for farmers markets and the agricultural sector.

The Farmers Market.co is tackling disease prevention through healthy nutrition. With funding from Mary Washington Hospital, The Farmers Market.co addresses the chronic health risks of many low-income residents who subsist on an unhealthy diet.  The Farmers Market.co promotes access and affordability of fresh fruits and vegetables, as well as providing education on the selection and preparation of fresh foods. The link between a diet rich in fresh, wholesome foods and improved health is well documented. Many preventable diseases are often diet-related, including obesity, heart disease, stroke and some forms of cancer.  Greater awareness, access and affordability can increase consumption of healthy fresh fruits and vegetables in the Fredericksburg Region.

The Farmers Market.co is a regional market network with the Spotsylvania, Fredericksburg and King George Farmers Markets. The Farmers Market.co partners with George Washington Regional Commission as fiscal agent and grant sponsor. Additional support for The Farmers Market.co comes from Virginia Cooperative Extension, Wholesome Wave, and several state and federal grants.

“We are building vibrant community Farmers Markets by increasing access and affordability of fresh, local foods for all,” said Elizabeth Borst, Spotsylvania Farmers Market Manager and Regional Program Leader.  “Local healthcare investment in our market programs will be leveraged to further build community connections between low-income consumers and farmers. This strategy pays forward threefold by nourishing the consumer, boosting the farmer’s revenues and uplifting the health of the community as a whole.”

 

For more information, please contact: Elizabeth Borst; elizabethborst@gmail.com

540/785-7271 or 540/845-4267

The Farmers Market.Co

Category: Fredericksburg City Farmers Market, Fundraising, Grants and Initiatives, King George Farmers Market, Market, Nutrition Incentives, SNAP/EBT, Spotsylvania Farmers Market, Spotsylvania Regional Medical Center Market

About the Author ()

Gayle Price is a Market Manager for the Fredericksburg CIty Farmers Market. She grew up on small farms in Arkansas and Virginia. She has called Fredericksburg home for more than 15 years.

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