Strawberries! They’re here!
Juicy, sweet local strawberries – picked ripe and fresh near you — are now at farmers’ markets across west central Missouri.
And again this year, friends, family, and neighbors with limited budgets will be able to take strawberries and other locally produced fruits and vegetables home with them thanks to the Double Up Food Bucks Program.
HOW IT WORKS: Individuals and families with Supplemental Food Assistance Program (SNAP) benefits purchase qualifying food at the farmers’ market. The Double Up Food Bucks Program then provides a one-to-one match, up to $25 per day, to spend on local farmers’ fruits and vegetables.
“The farmer makes $25 extra, and that family can get $25 extra of local fruits and vegetables,” said Katie Nixon, Food Systems Director with West Central Missouri Community Action Agency, which coordinates the program regionally. Double Up Food Bucks makes it easier for low-income families to eat fresh fruits and vegetables while supporting family farmers and growing local economies.
WHERE TO GO: Seven farmers’ markets in west central Missouri participate. They are part of a national wave of communities adopting the Double Up Food Bucks approach to helping families, farmers, and communities grow healthy.
CeCe Gulick is Market Manager of the Greater Polk County Farmers’ Market in Bolivar. She explains that valuable knowledge and relationships also grow as those with SNAP benefits interact with local farmers and local foods. “Our vendors teach them, too, how to use the vegetables with recipes and things like that.”
WHY IT WORKS: Nearby in Hermitage, people involved with the Hickory County Farmers’ Market have also seen the benefits. “It’s helped a lot people, who maybe have a little less on their SNAP card; it’s helped them stretch those dollars further,” said Tammy Walker, a public health nurse with the Hickory County Health Department, which coordinates the market.
She said Double Up Food Bucks is important, too, as a way to increase healthy food that individuals and families can afford. “Fresh is so much better than canned and processed food full of salt and additives; this is fresh and straight from the farmers’ garden to you.”
FACEBOOK FINDS: West central Missouri farmers’ markets that offer Double Up Food Bucks are on Facebook. Follow them and learn what’s ripe and ready each week for doubling up on fresh and local goodness!
Bolivar: Greater Polk County Farmers’ Market at 320 Market Ave. on Saturdays year round and Tuesdays April-October.
El Dorado Springs: Cedar County Farmers’ Market at 1317 S. Hwy 32 on Saturdays April-November.
Harrisonville: Cass County Farmers’ Market at 2601 Cantrell on Saturdays May-October.
Hermitage: Hickory County Farmers’ Market at 24885 State Hwy 254 on Fridays May-October.
Nevada: Nevada Vernon County Farmers’ Market at 1641 E. Ashland on Saturdays May-November and at 800 S. Ashland on Wednesdays June-October.
Sedalia: Sedalia Area Farmers’ Market at 1814 S. Limit Ave. on Tuesdays and Fridays May-October.
Webb City: Webb City Farmers’ Market at 106 E. Tracy St. on Saturdays year-round and on Tuesdays April-October.
For information, call 816 -701-8286 or visit www.DoubleUpHeartland.org.