Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) recipients in the state of Florida have access to a new opportunity to use their food stamp benefits to purchase affordable fresh produce thanks to Feeding Florida's newest initiative.
According to WCTV Eyewitness News, Frenchtown Farmers Market recently became the first local fresh produce market in Tallahassee to offer "Fresh Access Bucks" to SNAP recipients.
SNAP recipient, KaShauna Davis, told the news outlet every dollar she spends – up to $40 – is matched with the Fresh Access Bucks program, allowing her to double the money she spends on fresh produce.
"Instead of going to the grocery store, to get food for the kids, when I come here I can also use my SNAP benefits and they give me an additional amount of money," Davis said as she explained how the money matching program worked.
Davis went on to explain this opportunity has the added benefit of having the peace of mind in knowing exactly where the food you are purchasing for your family is coming from.
"When you go to the grocery store, you really don't know where the food is coming from," she continued to explain.
Robin Safley – a representative from Feeding Florida – confirmed that is a prime example of just what the company is hoping to accomplish with this initiative.
"Community is important, especially in today's world. Feeling connected, but also incubating those smaller growers and having a place for them to aggregate their products and sell it is just a positive thing," Safley said.Local farmers, such as Henry Gwynn, who sell their produce at this local market, are thrilled to see other members of the community able to benefit from the program.
Gwynn told the media outlet he believed it has really helped the families of the community to spend more time preparing fresh produce as part of their meals instead of picking something up from a grocery store instead.
Davis confirmed to the media outlet that it was a "really special" feeling as the entire experience of being at the market and getting extra money feels like the community was looking out for each other.KaShauna Davis went on to confirm that the reason she decided to speak to the media outlet is because she wants more families receiving SNAP benefits to learn about the program because every dollar spent at this farmer's market goes right back into the community.
Within this program there are currently 57 different markets. Feeding Florida plans to continue to expand the program to offer it to low income families in communities all over Florida.