Customers scoop up a handful of the healthy, fresh produce available at one of the many farmers’ markets found in communities across America.
America’s farmers’ markets are a great source of fresh fruits and vegetables and other healthy foods, and at USDA’s Food and Nutrition Service (FNS), we’ve made it a priority to expand healthy food access through farmers’ markets to those participating in the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP). It’s a win-win situation because, for farmers markets, the ability to accept SNAP benefits is a great way to build their customer base, which helps generate more sales and nourish the economy in our rural communities.
As Administrator of USDA’s Food and Nutrition Service, I place a high value on partnerships because, working together, we can achieve more toward shared goals than by working alone. The USDA recently contracted with the National Association of Farmers Market Nutrition Programs (NAFMNP), in an effort to enhance the participation of farmers and farmers markets in SNAP. And out of that innovative partnership, I am excited to announce MarketLink, a new way for farmers’ markets and direct-marketing farmers to get authorized as SNAP vendors and get the equipment they need to accept SNAP benefits. Read more »
I get to learn about a lot of great local initiatives when I make visits around the country. On a recent trip to Dallas, I visited Metrocrest Social Services, a community resource agency in Farmers Branch, Texas, that provides services to families in crisis and helps them make plans for the future. The purpose of the visit was to learn how outreach workers from the North Texas Food Bank come to this office to assist clients submit applications for the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program.
Camilla Zimbal, social services director, gave me a tour of the agency, and showed me some of the other services available to clients. One of the highlights of this one-stop shop is a food pantry at which pantry clients may select groceries once a week. In addition to the canned and boxed food, they can also select fresh-from-the-garden fruit and vegetables. Read more »
Chicago SFSP partners kick off the city’s summer feeding season.
During my recent trip to Chicago, I had the great fortune to visit several places that were doing tremendous work with many of USDA’s nutrition programs. One of the first stops was to a local school where children were really excited to learn more about where their food comes from. Read more »
Shed Two at Detroit’s Eastern Market
Look up Wayne County, Michigan, home to Detroit, in USDA’s Food Environment Atlas and it is obvious that local residents have some significant challenges in accessing healthful food. An alarmingly high number of households that lack a car in Wayne County are located further than one mile from the closest grocery store, meaning that many families struggle to get access to fresh and healthy food. Indeed, the closure of two supermarkets in 2007 left Detroit as the largest city in the country without a single full-service supermarket within its boundaries. Read more »