The LA Times is on a roll! They followed up last month’s article on the expansion of Market Match in LA County with a piece this week on the statewide background and potential impact of Market Match. This five year old program connects shoppers who receive food assistance like CalFresh and WIC with fresh, healthy fruits and vegetables. Market Match brings those shoppers out to the farmers’ market when they might otherwise head to a corner store or grocery chain. Mercy Mena, a customer interviewed in the latest article, says what’s available in the corner store is “bad food, just bad.” By contrast, she can use her benefits to buy fresh and healthy food from the farmers’ market for herself and her child.
As Market Match expands, drawing more shoppers to farmers’ market across the state, it has the potential to shift food assistance purchases away from processed foods laden with added sugars and toward healthy foods which can instead help prevent diet related illness. That’s a huge benefit for everyone, but especially low-income families who deserve widespread, equal access to the healthiest food, and the farmers who get a boost to their bottom line from extra income.
We’re not there yet, though. The next step is getting local private or public funds lined up to enable us to receive federal Farm Bill funding to expand Market Match. A Rotary Club in Santa Rosa has recently funded their local Market Match incentive, seeing it as a way to support low-income community members having access to healthy food, and local farmers. Check out the full article at the LA Times, and share it. The more Californians who know this is possible, the more who can contact us to make it happen in their community, and ultimately, the more who will benefit from it.
[Photo by U.S. Department of Agriculture on Flickr]