Addressing food insecurity at Oregon farmers markets

August 20, 2018
Regence Food Insecurity at the Farmers Market
By Regence

Oregon has a bounty of vibrant farmers markets to celebrate as part of National Farmers Market Week. Unfortunately, not everyone has access to—or can afford—fresh, local produce. In fact, 1 in 7 Oregonians are food insecure, meaning they don’t know where their next meal will come from.

That’s why Regence and New Seasons recently announced a joint contribution to the Farmers Market Fund to support greater access to healthy, locally grown food for under-served populations.

Matching SNAP dollars at local farmers markets

The $20,000 grant will boost Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) benefits at farmers markets statewide through a program called Double Up Food Bucks, which provides a dollar-for-dollar cash match to buy healthy, locally grown fruits and vegetables at participating farmers markets. Regence and New Seasons stepped in to help after local and federal funding for the program ended.

"I'm grateful that Oregon has organizations like New Seasons Market and Regence BlueCross BlueShield, who recognize the importance of making farmers markets accessible to everyone," said Trudy Toliver, executive director of the Farmers Market Fund. "The positive impact of SNAP matching programs is stunning, especially in Oregon's rural communities."

 

“It makes me feel like someone out there actually cares.”

- Farmers Market SNAP dollars recipient 

 

“I usually run out of my SNAP after about two weeks if I stretch it, so it doesn’t go all month. The doubling-up program really helps ‘cause it goes a little bit farther,” said Larry, a local Double Up Food Bucks shopper. “It makes me feel like someone out there actually cares... that we’re out here struggling and could really use it, so it’s nice to know that somebody cares.”

In a recent survey of about 1,300 people who received SNAP matching at Oregon farmers markets, 91 percent said the amount of fruits and vegetables they ate increased as a result of Double Up Food Bucks.

"Eating in-season produce and buying organic is impossible to achieve if you can't afford it,” said Angela Dowling, President of Regence BlueCross BlueShield. “Regence is proud to partner with the Farmers Market Fund to empower SNAP recipients at their local farmers markets and make healthy, locally-grown foods more accessible for Oregonians." 

Watch Larry and other SNAP recipients explain what this program means to them. 

 

A triple win for Oregon

In addition to giving low-income families more buying power for nutritious fresh food, contributing to the Farmers Market Fund helps local farmers increase their sales and keeps a greater portion of food dollars in the local economy. It’s truly a win-win-win. 

Read more about the joint contribution in your local news: 

For a list of all farmers markets in Oregon that offer SNAP matching, visit http://farmersmarketfund.org/programs/dufb/participatingmarkets/.

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