BC Farmers’ Market Nutrition Coupon program gets funding boost

Both Revelstoke Farmer’s Markets are participants in this year’s program, intended to help lower income households access fresh, locally-grown food.

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The Revelstoke Farmers Market. File photo: Aaron Orlando/Revelstoke Mountaineer

The BC Association of Farmers’ Markets has expanded the BC Farmers’ Market Nutrition Coupon program to help more lower income households access fresh, locally-grown, healthy food. Both the Revelstoke Farm and Craft Market and the Revelstoke Local Food Initiative Farm and Craft Market are participating in the coupon program for the 2019 season. The coupons are issued through community partner, Community Connections.

The expansion of the program is made possible through $121,000 in funding from the BC Ministry of Health, intended to follow through on a plan to expand the program to another 250 households representing approximately 700 individuals. A media release from the BC Ministry of Health states this is in addition to the $1.475 million the program has already received from the province for its 2019 coupon program. Last season, the weekly coupon program benefited more than 3,900 households, representing approximately 11,000 individuals.

“The BC Farmers’ Market Nutrition Coupon program is widely supported across the province, given its positive impact on residents and growers alike. Increasing the number of households in the program reflects its success in helping improving health outcomes and local economies,” said Adrian Dix, Minister of Health.

This year, the program will run from June 11, 2019, to Nov. 3, 2019, at participating farmers’ markets in 76 communities. It provides families, pregnant women and seniors who are already connected to community agencies that offer nutrition and skills-building programs and supports, with coupons to help them buy local food, including vegetables, fruits, nuts, eggs, dairy, herbs, meat and fish.

“The Farmers’ Market Nutrition Coupon Program is a fantastic initiative that works on multiple levels to support healthy, sustainable communities,” said Vickey Brown, president of the BC Association of Farmers’ Markets. “It both increases access to local, fresh food for families, seniors and pregnant women, and supports local farmers across the province. The program benefits are far reaching and it offers unique opportunities for individuals to connect with each other around food and community.”

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