~Farmer Friday: Fresh Access Bucks and Venus Veggies~
Fresh Access Bucks and Venus Veggies is where it’s at today for our Farmer Friday!
Each Friday in November and December, we are excited to bring you stories of what Florida Organic Growers (FOG) has accomplished in the organic and farming industry and how its impacted farmers, consumers and the community while spotlighting farmers in Florida who have benefitted from our work.
Fresh Access Bucks: Increasing access to local food for all
In 2013, we received a Specialty Crop Block Grant from the Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services (FDACS) to develop the Fresh Access Bucks program to increase access and affordability of Florida grown fruits and vegetables to low-income Florida residents and to increase sales of Florida grown fruits and vegetables to Florida consumers.
We work with currently 20 markets statewide to incentivize the use of SNAP benefits (formally known as food stamps) to purchase healthy produce directly from Florida farmers at participating markets. We do so by doubling the amount of money a shopper with a SNAP card has to spend on Florida grown produce. For example, an individual spending $10 on produce at a participating market can buy $20 worth of fresh, local produce.
This program is transforming Florida communities because it expands access to affordable healthy, local foods, increases fruit and vegetable consumption for vulnerable families and enhances local economies, farm viability and farmers markets.
Jeff Troup and Karin Grunden, owners of Venus Veggies, a Certified Organic farm in Venus near Lake Placid, have benefitted greatly from the program.
“Fresh Access Bucks has made a difference in our community,” said Karin. “As an organic farm, we have received more customers because it enables a wider variety of people to purchase organic food that might not otherwise be able to. It also allows customers to try new foods, such as golden beets and romanesco, which they would not normally purchase.”
Fortunately, the 2014 Farm Bill includes the Food Insecurity Nutrition Incentive (FINI) Program that represents the first time there has been federal legislation to support programs like Fresh Access Bucks and was born out of successful efforts like FOG’s, Wholesome Wave and the Fair Food Network, among others. FOG is the statewide organization that leads the way for Florida’s farmers market SNAP incentive program.
To learn more about our Fresh Access Bucks program and find participating markets throughout the state, please visit our Fresh Access Bucks page.
FOG’s works to advocate for the expansion of local food access and increase business for family scale farmers.
Please join us as we continue our fight for this next generation of family scale farmers and become a FOG member today!