The Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) is an economic stimulus that allows low-income families to spend federal funds on food. Vendors that accept SNAP benefits allow recipients to purchase fresh or prepared foods. Waimanalo Market Co-op (WMC) has initiated use of the SNAP interface, the Electronic Benefits Terminal (EBT), Since implementing EBT for SNAP, WMC has averaged approximately $1,000.00 in SNAP benefits redeemed per month by those shopping at the Co-op. Approximately 1/3 of the SNAP funds are used to purchase fresh, locally grown vegetables and fruits. These purchases are paid through to farmers as consignment income on their vegetables and fruits.
In an effort to increase consumption of locally sourced, healthy fresh vegetables and fruits among SNAP beneficiaries, the WMC has committed to the goal of doubling the amount of fresh, health vegetables and fruits consumed by SNAP recipients during 2018. This will be accomplished by issuing "matching" funds via certificates redeemable only at the WMC for fresh vegetables and fruits. These dollar-for-dollar matching certificates will be in increments of $5 or $10 and can only be redeemed at the time of the EBT purchase and only for fresh vegetables and fruits.
Other federal grant funds received by WMC are being used to encourage farmers to grow and sell produce locally with the goal of enhancing economic development and healthy nutrition. Local produce needs to get into the shopping bags of consumers, and WMC is committed to encouraging improved nutrition among local EBT users, who are often most nutritionally compromised members of our community. Funds awarded by The Awesome Foundation would serve as in-kind matching contribution required by our federal grant, and will be paid through to local farmers who have grown the produce.
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