Several government-sponsored programs exist for consumers who are eligible for food assistance including the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), and the Women and Infant Children (WIC) and Senior Farmers Market Nutrition Program (FMNP).
In 2015, over a million, or 1 in 7 people in Washington State received SNAP benefits. In 2016, 80% of WSFMA member markets accepted SNAP/EBT (formerly known as food stamps) cards and 93% accepted WIC & Senior FMNP checks, allowing low income families on federal food assistance to use their benefits to purchase fresh and healthy local foods.
Several markets in Washington State go above and beyond to provide healthy, farm-direct food to those in need in their communities. These programs are often coordinated with local non-profits and food banks, many of them funded by generous local or corporate sponsors.
Helping Harvest – Neighborhood Farmers Markets – Seattle
Helping Harvest Vouchers give food bank clients and other resource-challenged people the opportunity to increase the quality, variety and nutritional value of food they eat, while at the same time benefiting local farmers who bring their fresh, healthy, seasonal produce to city farmers markets.
Food Access Partnership – Vashon Island Growers Association
The Partnership distributes VIGA Fresh Fruit and Produce Coupons to island non-profits, who share them with clients and/or use them to purchase food for client meal preparation. They also partner with the Vashon Food Bank Summer Lunch program and other youth programs to include farm fresh fruits and vegetables in their meals and snacks.
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