At Slow Food Indy, one of the biggest topics of conversation – and concern – is the affordability of good, clean and fair food. Inexpensive convenience foods challenge us all to make good food choices. But if you’re trying to feed your family on SNAP (Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program) benefits, choosing cheap, pre-packaged, processed convenience foods over fresh produce may actually seem like a good choice.
Fresh Bucks to the rescue! “Fresh Bucks is a SNAP incentive program for farmer’s markets,” explains Fresh Bucks Coordinator Lauren Scharenbrock. “It doubles SNAP benefits at farmer’s markets up to $20 each week that people can then use for Indiana grown fruits and vegetables.”
Think about it. $20 worth of SNAP benefits, plus $20 Fresh Bucks – $40 will buy you a LOT of fresh fruit and vegetables at the farmers market. Seasonal, locally grown, likely chemical free, and harvested just days or even hours before sale, these fruits and vegetables are sure to provide the best possible nutrition. Any grocery store will be hard-pressed to match that value.
So okay, now you’ve got all your beautiful fresh, healthy fruits and vegetables. What do you do with them? Not to worry, Fresh Bucks to the rescue again. Visit freshbucksindy.com and in the Healthy Living section you’ll find all sorts of helpful information about shopping at farmer’s markets, meal planning, how to store produce, and recipes. In fact, the site even offers access to Leanne Brown’s fabulous cookbook, “Good and Cheap; Eat Well on $4/Day,” complete with cooking tips and gorgeous color photos.
The Fresh Bucks website also provides information about how the program works (including contact information if you have further questions), which farmer’s markets participate and their locations, and even information about how to get to those farmer’s markets.
You can also find out more about Fresh Bucks at the information booths of participating farmer’s markets.
“Fresh Bucks embodies Fair Food by making healthy food available to everyone,” says Scharenbrock. “Because you can double your SNAP dollars at farmer’s markets, families can get those vegetables and fruits that they need.”
As an added benefit, the SNAP funds and Fresh Bucks go back to our local farmers, supporting and bolstering their businesses and our local economy.
Fresh Bucks are more than just fair. They’re pretty fantastic – for all of us.
About the Author
Lorrie Wehr is an Indianapolis writer and sometimes-artist who believes sharing good food is the key to a good life.