Friday, August 9, 2013

Making healthy food affordable

Earlier this week at the Suitland farmers' market, a woman came up to the information table with her EBT (food stamp) card. She wanted to spend $1.50 at our market. "Well," I explained, "We can only do whole dollar increments. But you know, since we match food stamps here, you can actually just spend a dollar and then we'll give you another dollar to buy fruits and vegetables. It's part of our Maryland Market Money program. You'll have another fifty cents to use on something today. We match up to $10 every week when you use your food stamp card."

She smiled the biggest smile I'd seen all day. "Wait, so then I can get another bell pepper?" Yes, ma'am, and a cucumber. Affordability shouldn't keep anyone from being able to buy healthy food. "See you next Tuesday!"

And word is spreading. Slowly but surely, folks are learning about our market and what we're trying to do out here. A few reporters have called in recent weeks, elated at the small dent we are putting in the historic food desert in southern Prince George's County. We're getting there. Now if we can just keep people from stealing our market signs, we might get the word out a little faster....

Know any local printers willing to donate a couple dozen "Farmers Market This Way" signs?

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