The Creston Valley Farmers’ Market is thrilled to be part of the BC Association of Farmers’ Markets Nutrition Coupon Program for yet another season. The Farmers’ Market Nutrition Coupon Program (FMNCP) is a healthy eating initiative that supports farmers’ markets across the province and strengthens food security amongst individual communities. Each farmers’ market works with a local community organization to allocate coupons to lower-income families and seniors participating in food literacy programs. In Creston’s case, the Farmers’ Market is pleased to work with Valley Community Services as their official community partner.
The FMNCP officially launches province wide on June 11, which means participants will be ready to start shopping for fresh, healthy produce, meat, cheese, and farm eggs every Saturday starting June 16th in at the Creston Valley Farmers’ Market. However, to access these coupons, families must be partaking in nutrition and skill building programs offered by Valley Community Services such as Growing Healthy Families and the Pregnancy Outreach Program. Similar programs across the province aim to increase awareness and knowledge about local food systems and healthy eating strategies through programs focusing on cooking, planting a garden, visiting a farm, learning about new vegetables and healthy eating.
The Nutrition Coupon Program works full circle to educate families on healthy eating initiatives, while also economically supporting local farmers and food producers. On a deeper level, the program also helps to promote social inclusivity and a sense of community, with coupon holders having the opportunity to develop relationships with the farmers and learn about the nutrition benefits of fresh local food.
The program has been highly successful to date and with the additional funding approved for the 2018 season, the benefits will continue to mount. In the past, each participant would receive $240 worth of coupons over the course of the summer. This year, with the recent announcement of an additional $750,000 in funding, families will be given approximately $336 to be redeemed at participating farmers’ markets.
The expansion of the FMNCP will also make healthy, local food and skill building programs accessible to a growing number of lower income families, pregnant women, and seniors. For example, the number of expectant mothers in the program will go up by 450 over the next two years to a total of 3,900.
The Creston Valley Farmers’ Market is eager to get this program up and running and will be attending a launch event in Cranbrook on June 7th, just in time for the July 11th opening. Coupons are redeemable at any participating location across the province. The Creston Valley Farmers’ Market runs weekly from April 28 to October 6 directly behind the Visitor Centre every Saturday from 9AM-1PM. Regardless of whether or not you are participating in the FMNCP, the Creston Valley Farmers’ Market is the best place to stock the fridge with high quality local food, not to mention the wide range of artisanal products. See you there!
Submitted by Rylee Christenson | Creston Valley Farmers Market Manager