HECK, YEAH, WE MATCH EBT/SNAP!

For the sixth year running, the Medford Farmers Market is pleased to match EBT/SNAP benefits (formerly known as food stamps). SNAP beneficiaries simply swipe their EBT debit cards at the market manager’s table, and we match their total bill, up to $20 each week. That means $40 of fresh, healthy, and local food for a cost of $20, doubling shoppers’ spending power. Our benefits-matching program continues to grow by 10 to 12 percent every year, and last year we matched almost $4,000 in fresh, healthy, locally sourced food. But that’s just one of our initiatives for lower-income shoppers, and we need your help to keep all of them going. Details below.

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THE BAG SAYS IT ALL: WE ACCEPT EBT/SNAP!

WHAT A SEC. WHAT’S PRODUCE IN A SNAP?!

We want to make healthy, fresh, seasonal, and local produce available to low-income Medford residents year-round. In order to do so, we created Produce in a SNAP!, which unites our EBT-matching program with our subsidized farm-share program for seniors.

Along with our partners (the New Entry Sustainable Farming Project, Medford Housing Authority, the Medford Family Network, the Medford Board of Health, and Mass in Motion), the Medford Farmers Market is helping Medford residents with limited income gain access to healthy, fresh, and locally produced food.

We would like to express our great appreciation to Tufts University’s Experimental College Philanthropy Class for providing generous funding to support Produce in a SNAP! But we can’t keep these programs going without your help. Please take a moment to donate to the market and help us bring more affordable and healthy food into our community.

HOW DOES THE SENIOR SHARE WORK?

Continued in 2017: The Medford Farmers Market Senior Share is open to all Medford seniors age 60 and over for only $5 a week! The 2017 senior share will begin in July and run through October; signup and weekly pickup information is to be announced. Questions? Contact Syrah McGivern at the Board of Health: smcgivern@medford.org.

DIDN’T THE MARKET USED TO OFFER SUBSIDIZED SHARES FOR NON-SENIORS?

Another good question! We are very pleased to spread the news that, thanks to a brand new law, Massachusetts residents can now use their EBT cards to pay for a weekly subsidized CSA share. You can even do this through the very same CSA, New Entry Sustainable Farming Project, formerly offered by the Medford Farmers Market. Check out their website for details.

WHY IS EBT/SNAP SO IMPORTANT?

Today 33.4 percent of Medford children live below the poverty line, and 28.8 percent receive free and reduced-price lunches at school. Medford children in first, fourth, and seventh grades are more likely to be overweight or obese than their Massachusetts peers, with a full 22.2 percent of Medford adolescents categorized as overweight, compared to the state average of 17.1 percent.

Lack of resources for Medford residents living below the poverty line, exacerbated by the closing of our local WIC office and the antipoverty agency TriCAP, escalates this public health crisis. Medford mothers who may not have access to a car must now must travel to Somerville or even farther away for WIC services.

What can you do to help? Join the Medford Farmers Market and our partners in supporting our critical Produce in a SNAP! programming.

If you have $20 to donate, you will enable someone to buy $40 worth of produce through our EBT-matching program. This initiative lets participants double their spending power at the market. SNAP beneficiaries simply swipe their EBT debit cards at the market manager’s table, and we match their total bill, up to $20 each week. This program grows by 10 to 12 percent every year, and last year we matched almost $4,000 in fresh, healthy, locally sourced food.

If you have $60 to donate, you will pay for one week of evaluation by researchers from Tufts University’s Friedman School of Nutrition Science and Policy. Together, we are launching a study to evaluate the efficacy of Produce in a SNAP! The results will help us improve our efforts and apply for larger local and federal grants, making your donation go even further.

If you have $100 to donate, you will fund the rental of the equipment we need to process EBT payments. This may not sound glamorous, but without this equipment, we cannot accept EBT debit cards and, therefore, cannot offer EBT matching. That’s a projected loss of nearly $9,000 in fresh vegetables that otherwise would go to fellow Medford residents.

If you have $432 to donate, you will support 16 weeks of fresh produce delivery to an individual registered with the Medford Council on Aging. In partnership with New Entry Sustainable Farming Project, we provide these boxes of local-farmer-grown produce to qualified participants at a 70 percent discount. We also host free cooking classes and community dinners so the recipients can learn new recipes and share their family favorites with each other. Education means more healthy vegetables eaten, less fast-food consumption, and less waste. A win-win-win, if you ask us!

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RESPONSES TO AN EBT SURVEY AT THE MARKET

MORE ABOUT OUR PARTNERS

• New Entry Sustainable Farming Project works with new farmers to build strong business, expertise in the field, and a resilient food system.

• The Medford Housing Authority develops and manages safe, good quality, affordable housing for low-income individuals and families in a manner that promotes citizenship, community and self-reliance.

• The Medford Family Network of the Medford Public Schools is a family support and parenting education program that is available to every child and caregiver who lives or works in Medford with at least one child prenatal through age seven.

• The Medford Board of Health works to improve, preserve and protect the health of the citizens of the city.

• Mass in Motion is a statewide movement that promotes opportunities for healthy eating and active living in the places people live, learn, work and play.

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