A new program introduced by the BC Association of Farmers’ Markets is putting locally grown agricultural products onto the tables of 20 local families this summer.
“This program will supply participants with resources to purchase fruits, vegetables, eggs and meat at the Creston Valley Farmers’ Market,” said market manager Jen Comer. “The farmer’s family benefits, as well, and the funds stay in the community to support the local economy.
Comer partnered with Valley Community Services program operators at the Creston Education Centre to select low-income families with young children.
“We felt that this program was a great fit for our community,” she said. “Not only will families receive farm fresh food, they also meet the farmers and learn to include the market in their meal planning strategy.”
The families receive $15 in coupons each week that are redeemable at designated booths.
“Our objective is to encourage families with young children to try new foods and explore the diverse amount of produce available to their own community,” Comer said. “Shopping at a farmers’ market is an experience that should be inclusive to everyone.”
Nelson-Creston MLA Michelle Mungall, who wrote a letter supporting Creston’s application to be part of the nutritional coupon program, said she is excited to see families encouraged to add fresh local food to their weekly grocery shopping.
“Over our history, skinny, underweight people were a symbol of food insecurity,” she said. “But not anymore, at least in our society. Now the lack of healthy food is indicated by people being overweight, because the cheapest foods are the least healthy foods.
“Getting people onto healthy, nutritious diets is a great challenge, and the farmer’s market coupons are a great way to start.”
The benefit to local producers is important, she added.
“Our farmers have always supported food banks and community initiatives. Now this program gives more people access to healthy food and is fostering a consumer base at the same time,” said Mungall. “Proper nutrition is important not only for young people but also who with chronic illnesses like auto-immune diseases, MS and cancer. Promoting local, healthy diets is a great investment in our entire community.”