PORTLAND, Ore. – Today, New Seasons Market and Regence BlueCross BlueShield of Oregon announced a joint contribution to the Farmers Market Fund to boost Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) benefits at farmers markets across Oregon. The $20,000 grant will go to the Double Up Food Bucks program, which gives Oregon SNAP recipients a dollar-for-dollar cash match up to $10 per day to purchase nutritious, locally grown fruits and vegetables at participating farmers markets.
SNAP matching at farmers markets is a triple win for Oregon: low income families have buying power for nutritious fresh food, local farmers increase their sales, and a greater portion of food dollars remain in Oregon’s economy.
When local and federal funding behind the program ended in early 2018, Farmers Market Fund asked local foundations and corporations to step in and continue the funding for farmers markets around the state, particularly in the Portland metro area, Willamette Valley, Oregon Coast, Southern Oregon, and Northeast region of the state.
“I’m grateful that Oregon has organizations like New Seasons Market and Regence, 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.”
Last season, 91 percent of the participants said the amount of fruits and vegetables they consume increased as a result of Double Up Food Bucks, and 87 percent said the amount of times they visited a farmers market increased.
“I have a chronic health condition,” said one Double Up Food Bucks participant, “so fresh veggies and fruits help to give me a better quality of life. The only way I can afford fresh produce is through this program.”
Angela Dowling, President of Regence BlueCross BlueShield of Oregon, said that’s exactly why they’re joining in. “Eating in-season produce and buying organic is impossible to achieve if you can’t afford it. Regence is proud to partner with the Farmers Market Fund to empower SNAP recipients at their local farmer’s markets and make healthy, locally-grown foods more accessible for Oregonians.”
Farmers feel the impact too: 71 percent of farmers reported making more money because of the SNAP matching program.
“Farmers markets bring neighborhoods and local farmers together to share fresh produce, boosting the local food economy,” says Kristi McFarland, co-president of New Seasons Market. “New Seasons Market has been honored to provide SNAP matching funds at farmers markets since 2009 and we’re so happy to partner with Regence and other local organizations to support the Farmers Market Fund to help feed hungry families across the state.”
Visit your local farmers market this week. Strawberries are in season!
For a list of all farmers markets across Oregon that offer SNAP matching, visit http://farmersmarketfund.org/programs/dufb/participatingmarkets/.
About Farmers Market Fund
Founded in 2012 as the charitable companion to Portland Farmers Market, Farmers Market Fund provides low-income, elderly and underserved populations increased access to healthy, locally grown food. The organization aims to further serve those in need by providing education about nutrition, helping to remove the barriers to accessing fresh, local food. For more information, visit farmersmarketfund.org.
About New Seasons Market
New Seasons Market is a West Coast neighborhood grocer with a people-first culture that builds and sustains relationships for the greater good. The world’s first B Corp grocery store, the company places as much value on taking care of its staff, its community and the environment as it does on growing and operating its business. A respected champion of the regional food economy, it partners with farmers, ranchers and producers to deliver the best of the region, and pairs local, organic favorites with grocery classics to offer customers choice, value and flexibility. Founded in 2000, New Seasons has 21 neighborhood stores in Washington, Oregon and California, as well as four New Leaf Community Market locations in Northern California, and commits 10 percent of its after-tax profits back to the communities it serves. For more information, visit www.newseasonsmarket.com.
About Regence BlueCross BlueShield of Oregon
Regence BlueCross BlueShield of Oregon, headquartered in Portland, has been serving Oregonians since 1941 and now provides approximately 750,000 members with comprehensive health insurance solutions. As a nonprofit independent licensee of the Blue Cross and Blue Shield Association, Regence is part of a family of companies dedicated to transforming health care by delivering innovative products and services that change the way consumers nationwide experience health care. For more information, please visit regence.com, facebook.com/regencebluecrossblueshield, or twitter.com/regenceoregon.