Petaluma Bounty and Farmers’ Market LIFE is excited to announce that funding for the California Market Match Consortium has been extended through the end of 2019. Administered by the Berkeley Ecology Center, the California Market Match Consortium is part of a $3.9 million Food Insecurity Nutrition Incentive (FINI) grant- the largest of its kind in the nation- being awarded to the California Department of Agriculture (CDFA). In addition, the state is contributing over $3 million in funding to the project through the California Nutrition Incentive Program, established by California Assembly Bill 1321 (Ting). Local funders include Kaiser Permanente, St. Joseph Health, Petaluma Health Care District, Petaluma Poultry, The Martinelli Family, The Martin Family, and anonymous donors.
In collaboration with the Ecology Center, this funding will allow Farmers’ Market LIFE to distribute $166,040 of incentives to participating farmers’ markets that offer a dollar for dollar match to CalFresh customers over the next 2.5 years. These funds will continue to increase the ability of lower-income families that use the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), also known as CalFresh in California, to purchase fruits and vegetables from their local farmers’ market.
The continuation of this program will also stimulate the local economy by increasing the revenue for our local farmers. Since inception of the program in 2015, over $217,567 of Market Match incentives and CalFresh EBT has been distributed through 13 participating farmers’ markets. For a full list of participating markets, please go to our website: www.farmersmarketlife.org. These participating markets preserve farmland, stimulate local economies, increase access to fresh nutritious food, improve community health, and promote sustainability.
Suzi Grady, Director of Petaluma Bounty and Farmers’ Market LIFE explains, “We love this program because it values the high quality food grown by local farmers while improving access for people on limited income. It’s a program that benefits multiple stakeholders and we hope it will encourage everyone to shift a portion of their food budget to local farmers’ markets!”
CalFresh sales at farmers’ markets have grown an average of 18.3% annually over the past four seasons and it’s the hope of all collaborative members that by reducing price point issues at markets, more community members on CalFresh increase their consumption of fresh fruits and vegetables while supporting small scale farms. To address this goal, Petaluma Bounty and Farmers’ Market LIFE markets have teamed up with the Center for Well-Being to offer CalFresh tours going into the Fall of 2017.
These tours are designed to make everyone feel comfortable in the space, provide diversity inclusion, acquaint customers with the farmers, provide tastings of food that was made at the market, and answer any questions that customers have about Market Match. The collaboration with the Center for Well-Being ensures that our promotores will be able to conduct tours in Spanish and English. The tours have gotten off to a great stat for this year. In talking about her experience, Kelly Smith, who is the manager for the Agricultural Community Events Markets, shares, “The tours are both beneficial to the farmers and the customers. The vendors get highlighted by Center for Well Being and the customers get to taste the flavor of fresh farm produce. It’s a great way for customers to try new things!”
Participating markets include Agricultural Community Events (Petaluma Tuesday, Wednesday, Saturday; Cotati, Rohnert Park, Santa Rosa Vets, Kenwood, and Boyes Hot Springs) Santa Rosa Original Farmers’ Market, Sebastopol Farmers’ Market, and Healdsburg Farmers’ Market.
The grant from the USDA and CDFA allows Petaluma Bounty to continue its work to improve the health of our community, enhance the financial viability of farmers by expanding access to affordable, locally grown food for CalFresh users, and help make farmers’ markets more inclusive by offering our farmers’ market tours.
For more information on Farmers’ Market LIFE and to see the upcoming tours, please go to www.farmersmarketlife.org