For Immediate Release
Media Contact: Beth Hauptle, 919.903.2525 or [email protected]
[Pittsboro, NC, August 2, 2021] During this week, August 1-7, 2021 we celebrate National Farmers Market Week in conjunction with the Farmers Market Coalition. Now in its 22nd year, National Farmers Market Week (NFMW) is an annual celebration that highlights the vital role farmers markets play in the nation’s food system. Amidst a global pandemic and nationwide change, it is now more important than ever for markets to bring people together and create safe shopping environments.
RAFI-USA is committed to fostering the growth of robust farmers markets and other direct-to-consumer markets in support of small- to mid-size farms. At the same time, RAFI-USA manages programs that facilitate wider accessibility of local, fresh, and healthy food for those who are food insecure, including SNAP, WIC, and senior FMNP customers.
Starting in 2015, and continuing through today, RAFI-USA oversees several projects in support of this mission: Fresh Bucks, Double Bucks, and Alternative Local Food Markets. Additionally, continued technical assistance is offered to farmer collectives, farmers markets, and faith communities in order to support the development of resilient, dependable, and accessible direct-to-consumer markets that lead to stronger farm viability and community food security.
In 2015, RAFI-USA launched the Fresh Bucks consumer incentive program which doubles the buying power of SNAP/EBT shoppers at participating farmers markets. In the years that followed, more markets joined the Fresh Bucks program and returning markets saw dramatic growth. In 2019, the program expanded through funding from the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Food Insecurity Nutrition Incentive Program (FINI). Fresh Bucks can be found at 15 NC farmers markets, mobile markets, and co-op grocery stores, matching SNAP/EBT shoppers’ purchases dollar-for-dollar.
Following the success of the Fresh Bucks program, Blue Cross and Blue Shield of North Carolina (Blue Cross NC) funded the Double SNAP Dollars Collaborative, a partnership with six Triangle-area and five rural NC farmers markets starting in October 2019. The program is also funded by the United Way of the Greater Triangle and the Burt’s Bees Greater Good Foundation. This initiative provides matching Double Bucks incentives to low-income shoppers and is part of the company’s commitment to addressing food security in North Carolina by increasing access to healthy and nutritious local food.
ALTERNATIVE LOCAL FOOD MARKETS
RAFI-USA’s Alternative Local Food Markets program works to develop, coordinate, and expand direct producer-to-consumer markets that make locally produced foods more available and accessible and that supports farmers and food entrepreneurs of color. Launched in 2020 with the support of a USDA’s Farmers Market Promotion Program (FMPP) grant, the program brings together the strengths of RAFI-USA’s Farmers of Color Network and Come to the Table programs.
To learn more about these programs, visit RAFI-USA’s website.
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About the Rural Advancement Foundation International-USA (RAFI-USA)
RAFI-USA challenges the root causes of unjust food systems, supporting and advocating for economically, racially, and ecologically just farm communities. We envision a thriving, sustainable, and equitable food system: where farmers and farm workers have dignity and agency; where they are supported by just agricultural policies; where corporations and institutions are accountable to their community. RAFI-USA is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization based in Pittsboro, North Carolina, and incorporated in 1990.