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Stretching SNAP Dollars, Bridgeport Farmers Market is First in County to Utilize SNAP Stretch Initiative

By Julie Perine on July 27, 2019 via Connect-Bridgeport.com

Formerly known as food stamps, SNAP is the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, a federal nutrition program that helps consumers stretch their food budget when shopping for healthy options.
Now, they can stretch it even further. New in recent weeks to Bridgeport Farmers Market is The West Virginia Food & Farm Coalition’s SNAP Stretch Initiative.
 
Already, the program is proving advantageous, said Amanda Workman, BFM president.
 
“We already have the POP Club which is all about kids and healthy eating and teaching about what we grow here in West Virginia,” she said. “I think the SNAP Stretch Initiative fits right in with the POP Club, promoting healthy eating and local foods grown in West Virginia and that was really our main reason for wanting to do it.”
 
When shopping with their EBT (electric benefits transfer) card, qualified shoppers can get up to a three-time return on their dollar.
“They can say they want to run their EBT card for $20. We give them $20 in product plus an extra $20 through SNAP and if they have a child with them, they get another $20 worth,” Workman said.
 
SNAP Stretch can only be used to purchase produce – fruits and vegetables – and produce plants. SNAP Stretch is overseen by the United States Department of Agriculture. The SNAP Stretch Initiative is sponsored by The West Virginia Food & Farm Coalition, WVU Extension Family Nutrition SNAP Education and West Virginia Farmers Market Association.
 
Currently, Bridgeport Farmers Market is the only farmers market in Harrison County participating in the SNAP Stretch Initiative. Workman said she feels the program will help BFM to potentially reach a new demographic. She encourages those who qualify for the program to use it.
 
“It’s important for people to come and take advantage of it and show The Food & Farm Coalition that it is being used. I hope we get it again for next season, Workman said.
 
Bridgeport Farmers Market is open 10 a.m. through 2 p.m. Sunday. With vendors at the height of their growing seasons – and with a full market, 40-plus vendors – this weekend should be the ideal time for everyone to shop.
 
Available for purchase will be a long list of produce including, but not limited to, corn, peaches, green beans, lettuce, spinach and other greens, potatoes, garlic, carrots, cauliflower and, of course, red beefy tomatoes.
 
Bridgeport Farmers Market is located on the Market Grounds at Charles Pointe, in the parking lot of 100 Market Street, which houses Bridgeport Visitors Bureau, Mountain East Conference and Fairmont State University.



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