Equitable Access to Local Fresh Food: Making it a Reality
The new Senior Incentive Program provided $15 in Market Produce Certificates for seniors participating in Senior Center, Housing Authority or at- the- market nutrition programing. Over $8,900 in certificates were redeemed for fresh market produce by the seniors.
A new DFMCC Veterans’ Program provided any veteran $15 in market produce certificates with $650 redeemed by veterans through the season.
DFMCC increased fruit and vegetable purchasing power of the target population, by about $45,000, up about 40% from last year, which in turn provided equal direct vendor benefit. SNAP match reached $5,293, up 60% over 2014. The total WIC FMNP match was about $17,500, about the same at 2014; Senior FMNP match was about $8,000 also about the same as 2014.
A joint venture with the Regional YMCA of Western CT and the United Way of Western Connecticut’s S.C.R.A.M. (Students Can Run and Move) program enabled about 280 children to shop during the season, providing $2,800 worth of fresh produce for them and their families.
Making It Work…
- The bilingual (Spanish and English) program manager critical to success and will continue. Multi-language volunteers provided vital support each week.
- Transportation is identified as a barrier to using the market so HARTransit provided 125 bus passes, making access to fresh food possible for many. Danbury Housing Authority provided bus service for their clients and the Danbury Senior Center provided bus service for their clients.
- Bi-monthly market food and nutrition sessions focused on market produce with $15 in market produce coupons provided as an incentive to purchase the produce.
- Acceptance of debit and credit cards improved sales for the vendors, keeping the market more vibrant.
- Vendors indicated the program “greatly increased” sales.