Sedro-Woolley Farmers Market Offering ‘Double Up EBT Dollars’ Program
Sedro-Woolley, WA – July 2013 – Following the lead of farmers markets around the country, the Sedro-Woolley Farmers Market began accepting EBT (food stamps) benefits this year, enabling lower-income people to have greater access to fresh fruits and vegetables. At the same time, United General Hospital’s Community Health Outreach Program is working on a five-year Healthy Communities Initiative to promote healthy eating in east county communities with disparate rates of diet-related diseases such as cancer, diabetes and heart disease. A key to preventing and reducing these diseases is to eat healthy foods, as defined by a balanced diet of vegetables, fruits, whole grains, low-fat dairy products, and protein, such as lean meats and legumes.
According to Marjorie Bell, program planner for the Community Health Outreach Programs, “Our department conducted 165 east county community interviews in 2012, to measure attitudes, beliefs and practices related to purchasing and eating healthy foods such as fresh fruits and vegetables. What we found over and over again was the perception that healthy foods are too expensive. Fifty-one percent (51%) of survey respondents indicated that the reason they don’t eat more healthy food is that it’s “too expensive”, and 71% reported that making healthy food more affordable would make it easier for them to eat a higher quality diet.”
In an effort to increase access to healthy foods in the east county, Bell and market manager Jeremy Kindlund have joined forces to pilot a Double Up EBT Dollars program at the SedroWoolley Farmers Market this season. With $1,000 in seed money from the ConAgra Foods Foundation, United General Hospital will match EBT purchases dollar for dollar, with a $10 per customer per market limit, while funds last. Bell says, “We’re hoping that folks will hear about this opportunity—it’s a wonderful way to make fresh, local produce more affordable while supporting our local farmers. The bottom line is we want all residents to have the same access to healthy food, regardless of their income. Healthy kids are better learners; healthy adults are more productive workers, and healthy communities contribute to a strong economy.”
The Sedro-Woolley Farmers Market is held every Wednesday from 3 to 7 pm, through October 16, in Hammer Heritage Square in downtown Sedro-Woolley. For more information about Double Up EBT Dollars, contact Jeremy Kindlund at email@example.com. For information about the Healthy Communities Initiative, email Marjorie Bell at firstname.lastname@example.org.