By Ari Rosner
Hollywood Farmers Market community volunteer coordinator
The Hollywood Farmers Market’s matching program, Fresh Funds, began in 2010 with the simple idea that all Oregon residents deserve access to fresh, local produce from their neighborhood farmers market. With that in mind, the Hollywood Farmers Market (HFM) created a program that will increase the spending power of customers receiving SNAP benefits (formerly known as food stamps).
Fresh Funds, began in 2010 with the simple idea that all Oregon residents deserve access to fresh, local produce from their neighborhood farmers market.
Every Market day, SNAP customers can use their EBT card and withdraw SNAP dollars to be used at the HFM. The HFM provides an additional $5 in matching funds, increasing the customer’s spending power at the Market and encouraging healthy eating. For many families, that extra $5 a week is what makes it possible for them to shop at the HFM, rather than at a grocery store. Since 2010, this program has matched more than $36,000 to thousands of SNAP customers at the HFM and, and many other farmers markets have started similar programs.
This year, the HFM’s matching program is a featured charity in the Willamette Week Give!Guide (giveguide.org). It is part of a cooperative effort involving nine farmers markets throughout the Portland metro area, called the Farmers Market Fund.
Funds raised in the Give!Guide will be shared among SNAP matching programs at all the participating farmers markets, another step toward making these programs institutional and permanent.
Why support the Farmers Market Fund? Here are some quotes from SNAP match recipients:
- “This is an amazing program. It helps me help the farmer, and it helps me eat more fresh produce.”
- “The matching program allows me to eat healthy even when I am almost broke. Getting the extra money helps me and my family every week. Thank you for this service!”
- “The matching program means that I can feed my family local, healthy foods. I can also feel good about supporting my local farmers and economy.”
Processed food does not have to be the only option for families on food stamps. Support the Farmers Market Fund to ensure all Oregonians have access to healthy, fresh, local produce. To donate, use this link, http://bit.ly/16Hfkpo, or go online to giveguide.org and look for “Farmers Market Fund” under “Health and Wellness.”
The Hollywood Farmers Market is located on Northeast Hancock Street between 44th and 45th avenues, one block south of Sandy Boulevard. It is open every Saturday from May through Thanksgiving and the first and third Saturdays of the month from December through April. Market hours are 8 a.m.-1 p.m. from May to October and 9 a.m.-1 p.m. from November to April. Dogs are welcome in the Market after 10 a.m. For more information, visit hollywoodfarmersmarket.org.
The Lloyd Farmers Market is located under the gazebo in the Oregon Square Courtyard on Northeast Holladay Street between 7th and 9th avenues. It is open every Tuesday from 10 a.m.-2 p.m. For more information, visit www.lloydfarmersmarket.com.