I was recently able to participate in a ribbon cutting ceremony with community partners and Florida state and city officials at the Jackson Memorial Foundation Green Market in honor of the farmers market now accepting the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) EBT cards and the Womens, Infants and Children (WIC) Fruit and Vegetable Vouchers, in Miami, Fla. The Jackson Green Market is currently the only farmers market in Florida authorized to accept the Fresh Fruit and Vegetable WIC vouchers. Shoppers were also able to use their SNAP EBT cards to purchase fresh produce at the discount of $5 off their total purchase compliments of a grant from the Health Foundation of South Florida.
I found it very gratifying to help SNAP client Maria Salgado bag up the fresh fruits and vegetables she purchased that day knowing that her family would enjoy a nutritious meal. She just happened to be visiting a friend at the near-by Jackson Memorial Hospital and found out that she could use her SNAP benefits to purchase fresh fruits and vegetables at the market. I also enjoyed watching a cooking demonstration of fresh fruits and vegetables by Chef Allen Susser, owner of Chef Allen’s Modern Seafood Grill in Aventura, Fla., and a participant in “Share Our Strength” of South Florida, which is a partner to end childhood hunger with its “No Kid Hungry” campaign. It was also great to see the University of Florida/Miami-Dade County Extension Office at the market providing nutrition education which is important in the fight against obesity.
The Healthy Options Pilot at the market seeks to provide lower-income shoppers with more nutritious selections by increasing their access to fresh fruits and vegetables. With its proximity to the onsite WIC office at the Jackson Memorial Hospital which serves 4,500 clients a month, and help from students from the University of Miami’s Miller School of Medicine, the pilot will assess SNAP and WIC clients’ receptivity to the market.
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