National Farmers Market Week in Northern Michigan
County, state and region agricultural markets are celebrating National Farmers’ Market Week, which runs this week through August 7.
To mark their resilience to continue serving communities during difficult times, the Northwestern Michigan Department of Health recently launched a Market Champion program to promote the use of the Supplemental Nutritional Assistance Program (SNAP). and Bridge cards at local farmer’s markets as well as demonstrating healthy recipes from fresh foods found at local markets.
The Northwestern Michigan Department of Health cooperates with five markets in the service area of the Department of Antrim, Charlevoix, Emmet and Otsego counties that participate with SNAP and Double Up Food Bucks.
These markets include Boyne City Farmers Market, Charlevoix Farmers Market, Petoskey Town Center Farmers Market, Mancelona Farmers Market, and Gaylord Town Center Farmers Market.
Each of these markets also accepts WIC Project Fresh and Senior Project Fresh, which provide product vouchers to eligible young families and seniors to spend in the markets.
SNAP, also known as EBT or Bridge cards in Michigan, allows food assistance participants to shop at participating farmers’ markets. Many markets are also participating with Double Up Food Bucks, which allows SNAP and P-EBT shoppers to double their SNAP dollars up to $ 50 to spend on vegetables, fruits, herbs, and plants that produce food.
“Farmers’ markets can promote access to fresh, local and healthy food for families who might not otherwise be able to afford it. Farmers benefit directly from the sales of their produce, which keeps those dollars local. Said Lynne DeMoor, community health coordinator and nutritionist with the Northwestern Michigan Department of Health.
DeMoor and two colleagues serve as market champions, providing recipes, tips, ideas and cooking demonstrations at five local markets.
In the past 18 months of the COVID-19 pandemic, farmers’ markets – just like other small businesses – have had to be innovative to keep doing business for farmers and the communities that depend on them. Market managers have been at the forefront of tailoring quick fixes and innovation to protect staff, customers and the community.
When conventional food supply chains were challenged at the onset of the pandemic, farmers’ markets and local food systems demonstrated the resilience of short supply chains and interest in local foods increased over time. nationwide.
“Two thousand and twenty has not been an easy year, but we know that the farmers, market managers and staff and board members of the Michigan Farmers Market Association (MIFMA) are no strangers to the workplace. hard work and challenges, ”said Amanda Shreve, Executive Director of MIFMA. “As we celebrate National Farmer’s Market Week 2021, we’ve already seen the strength, resilience and hope we share as a Farmer’s Market community, and we know our markets will continue to have positively impacting their communities well beyond this week. “
Michigan Farmers Markets have adapted to keep shoppers safe, MIFMA says, with more than 250 market managers, volunteers, vendors and others attending the agency’s COVID-19 town hall webinars.
National Farmers Market Week is an annual celebration of farmers’ markets recognized by the Farmers Market Coalition, with Michigan’s efforts supported by MIFMA. This year’s National Farmers Market Week celebrations focus on the critical role that farmers’ markets play in local food systems and in building local resilience in communities as connecting hubs.
In Michigan, nearly 240 farmers’ markets serve their communities by increasing access to food, often in areas where grocery options are scarce, and by supporting small businesses.
Last year, 152 markets accepted SNAP, Bridge and P-EBT cards, including 25 new sites, generating more than $ 1 million in farm income per year and creating access to nutritious fruits and vegetables for families. vulnerable.
For more information on local Farmer’s Markets and National Farmer’s Market Week, visit www.nwhealth.org.