This article was written by students from Butler University, including Chloe Reisinger, Annie Boster, Megan Skoog, and Rabby Sung.
SNAP at Indy Winters Farmer Market
We are so excited about the upcoming Indy Winter Farmers Market (IWFM) opening on November 7th! Mainly because we are given the opportunity to improve food access with our Triple-SNAP Match Program.
The Indy Winter Farmers Market has been around since 2008, and we are so excited for the new season, which begins November 7, 2020, and runs until April 24, 2021. The market will feature over 40 vendors, including 317 Juicery, Bee Coffee Roasters, and many more sustainably-minded family farms and food producers. With the help of our new Market Manager, Danielle Guerin, we have transformed the farmers market to be even more accessible and safe during these uncertain times.
The Triple-SNAP Match Program
This program allows market patrons to turn $20 into $60 just using their Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) card. At the IWFM, swiping a SNAP card for $20 results in $20 more in market tokens, which can be used for anything at the IWFM, and $20 in Fresh Bucks, which can be used to purchase produce. This Triple-SNAP Match program allows individuals to eat fresh and local foods at a more affordable cost!
Last year, we provided over $5,000 with our Triple-SNAP Match Program. This year, we expect to provide this benefit to even more individuals due to the financial impacts that COVID-19 has caused.
Impact of COVID-19
Due to the impacts of COVID-19, SNAP applications have increased by almost 200% since March 2020. This indicates that an increased number of individuals need more help in feeding their families. The increase in government funding for the SNAP program has helped to fill the gap in providing for the 200% increase in individuals using SNAP.
COVID-19 has had a huge impact on agriculture and food in the US. Food is going to waste as restaurants, schools, and hotels are closed, leaving farmers without buyers. Some donate their produce to charities, but these places cannot hold abundances of perishable food due to a lack of storage. Also, the farmers would lose money if they transport their produce to other areas as it is an expensive process, and many people are not capable of paying during the pandemic.
It is more important than ever to shop locally for food and to support small businesses and farmers. Many farms are struggling during the pandemic due to supply chain issues, lack of seasonal labor, and consumer behavior changes. Consumers are more likely to think about helping local restaurants, but we also must think about the source of our foods: farmers.
How You Can Help
Attending the Indy Winter Farmers Market is an easy way to support local farmers and small businesses. Join us for the first market on November 7, 2020, to connect with local growers and help build a stronger community of Indy farmers and food producers! For more information on the market, visit our website or Facebook page.