State Officials and Community Partners to Visit Market on December 9th to Highlight Access to Fresh, Healthy Foods

Written by the Department of Transitional Assistance (DTA)

There’s nothing like selecting fresh ingredients from a farmers market, going home and preparing a dish from scratch. Sound daunting? It doesn’t have to be!

Come to the Boston Public Market and find out how to prepare butternut squash soup using local, in-season ingredients and create a healthy, budget-friendly meal. On Wed., Dec. 9, at 3:30pm Chef Guy Koppe from Project Bread and Tracie Gillespie from UMass Extension Nutrition Education Program will lead a cooking demo in the community kitchen. 

“Farmers markets are an important access point for fresh fruits and vegetables. The nutrition incentive programs that many of them offer help to encourage the use of public assistance benefits and allow families to further stretch their dollars,” said Department of Transitional Assistance (DTA) Commissioner Jeff McCue, noting that many farmers markets now accept SNAP/EBT benefits. “I encourage our SNAP clients and their families to visit Boston Public Market, or wherever their local farmers market may be, and explore the healthy food options that are available.”

One in nine Massachusetts residents receives SNAP benefits to help them feed their families, and farmers markets are increasingly providing those who may not otherwise have access with an opportunity to purchase nutritious food using SNAP/EBT benefits.

In 2014, 134 markets accepted SNAP/EBT payments. This year there are 145 markets accepting SNAP/EBT benefits. Many markets also accept Senior and Women, Infant and Children Nutrition Program (WIC) farmers’ market coupons, and others provide matching funds to incentivize the purchase of fruits and vegetables and other healthy foods. “These programs are important because they increase the availability of fresh, locally grown foods to those in the community who may not otherwise have access to farm-fresh food,“ said Department of Agricultural Resources, (DAR) Commissioner, John Lebeaux.

In order to highlight the fact that farmers markets are such a vital point of access to fresh, local, affordable food, DTA and the Department of Agricultural Resources (DAR) embarked on a three-stop statewide series of market tours. At each farmers market stop, vendors and partners use their expertise to teach market goers something new. Whether it is a lesson on urban gardening or a cooking demonstration, there is always something to learn.

The unique and exciting Boston Public Market is open year-round and houses over 35 vendors selling locally produced items such as farm-fresh produce, meat, eggs, dairy, seafood, and bread. The market accepts SNAP/EBT for all eligible products. Boston Public Market is also a part of Boston’s Bounty Bucks program, which provides a dollar-for-dollar match, up to $10, each time a SNAP client shops at a participating farmers market.