Target: Market Match
Goal: Applaud dedication to empowering local farmers and providing SNAP recipients with healthy food options
Low-income individuals and families receiving public assistance often find it is difficult to acquire healthy fruits and vegetables, especially with high government subsidies on corn and soy products, making it cheaper for them to purchase processed foods often made with high fructose corn syrup. However, a new program called Market Match is working to help low-income people in Los Angeles County stretch those dollars to fresh produce while also putting money in the pockets of local farmers, by matching up to 10 dollars’ worth of purchases made at participating farmers markets with SNAP funds.
The program is based out of Berkeley’s Ecology Center and serves 150 farmers markets across California. The Los Angeles Times has reported that 80 percent of farmers participating in these programs sold more fresh produce, and 66 percent made more money thanks to their participation. As the executive director of the Ecology Center, Martin Bourque, commented to the Times, “Every dollar is doing double-duty — not only helping poor people in Los Angeles, but reaching out and helping some of California’s most economically devastated rural communities as well.” The program just received a 2.5 million dollar grant that is expected to triple its activities in Los Angeles County in the coming five years. Similar programs exist in Oregon and Washington, D.C., and hopefully other low income communities will jump on the bandwagon to empower their residents and farmers.
By signing this petition, you are thanking Market Match for working hard to empower SNAP recipients to make healthy choices and to support local farmers. You are encouraging them to continue setting an example for other communities and providing an easy way for farmers markets to get involved.
Dear Market Match and Program Manager Carle Brinkman,
Your program is a breath of fresh air in the midst of a stereotype-fueled debate over public assistance to low income communities. This program is such an inspiration to families and individuals who need more healthy options but lack the resources across Los Angeles County and beyond. With this innovative program you have made it easy for communities to lift themselves up and empower each other by making SNAP benefits work harder and putting more money into the pockets of local farmers.
Thank you for uniting Los Angeles communities and empowering farmers and low-income individuals through this thoughtful matching program. Thank you for showing that healthy options do not have to be out of reach for those who need food assistance. I hope that other counties will take inspiration from the overwhelming success of Market Match, especially since your recent grant was awarded, and implement similar programs in other needy areas.
[Your Name Here]
Photo credit: elPadawan via Flickr