New Seasons, Regence BlueCross BlueShield of Oregon boost SNAP program
New Seasons Market and Regence BlueCross BlueShield of Oregon have 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 Oregon, 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.
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," she said.
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 Oregon and other local organizations to support the Farmers Market Fund to help feed hungry families across the state."
Local farmers markets participating in the Double Up Food Bucks program include Bridgeport Village (7329 SW Bridgeport Road in Tigard); Lake Oswego (Millennium Plaza Park, 200 First St.); Hillsdale (Capitol Hwy. and Sunset Blvd.) and Oregon City (2051 Kaen Road off Beavercreek Road). To view the complete list visit www.farmersmarketfund.org/programs/dufb/participatingmarkets.