Project GROWS increases food access for SNAP participants at farmer’s markets

Beginning the first week of May, Project GROWS will accept and double Supplemental Nutrition Program benefits at the North Augusta Farmer’s Market and the Waynesboro Farmer’s Market.

The Virginia Fresh Match SNAP program helps increase affordable access to fresh foods for low income families in the greater Augusta area. The SNAP matching funds are provided with support from Virginia Fresh Match’s Food Insecurity Nutrition Incentive (FINI) program grant.

Project GROWS, a non-profit organization located in Augusta County that manages the North Augusta and Waynesboro Farmer’s Markets, announced today that these markets will be matching dollars spent by customers participating in the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (“SNAP,” formerly known as food stamps) with the help of Virginia Fresh Match. SNAP is a USDA program that offers food assistance to eligible low income individuals and families and provides economic benefits to communities across the United States. Virginia Fresh Match doubles the value of SNAP benefits spent at participating farmer’s markets. For example, a SNAP shopper uses $10 in SNAP benefits and gets an additional $10 to spend on fresh fruits and vegetables.

The Waynesboro and North Augusta Farmer’s Markets offer a wide variety of SNAP eligible products including fresh local produce, meat, eggs, dairy, homemade breads and honey. The North Augusta Farmer’s Market will be held at the Augusta County Government Center from 12:00pm to 5:00pm every Wednesday beginning May 1st and ending October 30th. The Waynesboro Farmer’s Market will be held at the Pavilion at Constitution Park from 9:00am to 1:00pm every Saturday beginning May 4th and ending September 28th.

“Agriculture is Virginia’s leading industry, yet many families struggle to afford the fresh fruits and vegetables needed for a healthy lifestyle. Applied as a food security strategy in many communities, accepting and doubling SNAP at farmers markets makes fresh food more equitable and affordable. We’re excited to have Project GROWS’ markets join our network,” said Maureen Best, Local Environmental Agriculture Project Executive Director and Virginia Fresh Match co-lead.

Project GROWS’ mission is to improve the health of youth through garden-based food education and access to nutritious, local food. Project GROWS is increasing food access by connecting community members to affordable and nutritious produce while providing economic opportunities to local farmers.

Virginia Fresh Match is a voluntary network of Virginia farmer’s markets and grocery retail outlets that offer nutrition incentive programs. The network expands access to healthy, fresh foods for all people in the commonwealth by increasing purchasing power and creating more opportunities to consume locally produced food. Virginia Fresh Match helps low-income consumers afford additional healthy food and creates new customers for local farmers, allowing more food dollars to stay in the local economy. Please visit VirginiaFreshMatch.org for more information.

For more information about the Waynesboro and North Augusta Farmer’s Markets, contact Megan Townley at megan@projectgrows.org and visit them on Facebook.

For more information about Project GROWS, please contact executive director Jenna Clarke Piersol at jenna@projectgrows.org and visit the Project GROWS website at projectgrows.org.

For more information about Virginia Fresh Match, contact Shenandoah Region Lead Erin Burch at ardentevolution@gmail.com.

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