For many, access to healthy food is a problem. If you don’t have a car in South County, you have a fifty percent chance of living in a “food desert”. Even if you do, can you easily find fresh, nutritious, and affordable food?
Our farms in South County are a big asset. And with the farms come delicious farmers markets.
Connecting people with limited incomes to great food they can afford
Thundermist Health Center connects low-income individuals and families to the region’s farmers markets. There are more issues than you might imagine: transportation is a big one. So is unfamiliarity with both farmers markets and some of the fruits, vegetables, dairy, and meats that might be offered.
With our help, Thundermist is:
- Negotiating with farmers and markets to accept WIC and SNAP benefits
- Providing matching support (“Bonus Bucks”) so the family’s dollar will go farther
- Bringing one-day markets to local neighborhoods (“pop-up markets”)
- Offering cooking classes
Digging deeper into the numbers
Thundermist and Healthy Bodies, Healthy Minds are digging deeper into determining who in South County is having a hard time buying fresh fruits and vegetables for their families. One way is to encourage health providers to ask their patients just two simple questions during medical exams. The answers help determine if families may need emergency food services, a food pantry, or soup kitchen.
For more information about our Food Access initiative, email Rosemary Galiani
The Food Access initiative will continue in 2017.
The growing season may not be as long as we’d like here in Rhode Island, but oh, those fresh tomatoes, corn, carrots, broccoli, peppers, melons and more.
The best places to buy are one of South County’s 12 farmers markets or directly from farms or farm stands. The best place we know for information about Rhode Island’s farmers, farmers markets, restaurants that use local produce and more is Farm Fresh RI.
And South County Healthy Bodies, Healthy Minds has ensured that low-income people can also take part in the “harvest”. We work with Thundermist Health Center to:
- Encourage all farmer’s markets to accept public benefits
- Offer “bonus bucks” to make healthy foods affordable
- Provide markets in communities with little transportation
Click here to find a list of all farmers markets in South County
Public Benefits You May Find at Select Farmer’s Markets
- WIC is the Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants and Children up to age 5 years. WIC provides participants with a monthly voucher for fruits and vegetables and a set of vouchers for the farmer’s markets once a summer. Both can be used at participating farmer’s markets.
- SNAP, formerly known as food stamps, provides monthly funds for food assistance on an electronic benefits card (EBT)
- BONUS BUCKS are tokens provided at the WIC/SNAP table that can be used only at farmers markets. For every $5 you spend, you get $2 worth of extra vegetables
- SENIOR COUPONS are farmers market coupons for low income individuals 60 years of age or over. You can get them at your local senior center.