singing to garlic: MAINE’S FARMER MUSICIANS BY CARRIE BRAMAN PHOTOGRAPHS BY MOLLY HALEY
Maine is building a vibrant farm and food economy, but not all Mainers have access to local food. Maine ranks 3rd in the nation, and 1st in New England for the portion of households experiencing food insecurity. At the same time, Maine has lots of farmland and farmers producing nutritious food year-round. Our Farm Fresh Rewards program helps to connect the dots between farmers and consumers, and grow markets for farmers and while reducing food insecurity.
Farm Fresh Rewards provide bonus dollars for shoppers using SNAP/EBT to buy locally-grown fruits and vegetables at local retail stores, like food co-ops. The program increases SNAP shoppers’ purchasing power while making healthy food more affordable and connecting farmers with new customers.
The impact of Farm Fresh Rewards is threefold:
- Shoppers: We address inequities in our food system by increasing access to affordable, fresh, locally-grown produce for low-income Mainers.
- Farmers: We help grow the market for Maine farmers, who can sell more of their products through local stores that offer Farm Fresh Rewards and reach a broader consumer base.
- Local Economy & Community: More consumers are able to afford products from local businesses; keeping dollars circulating locally bolsters Maine’s economy. And shopping locally cultivates community connections.
In the first three years of the Farm Fresh Rewards nutrition incentives program:
Over 1000 households using SNAP also used Farm Fresh Rewards, impacting 2500 individuals
- 373 farms sell to participating stores
- More than 20 stores have participated to date
- Over $170,000 of incentives have been redeemed for local fruits and vegetables
If you believe in this work to grow markets for farmers while also addressing food insecurity in Maine, we hope you’ll consider joining us as a member. Pitch in– we can’t do it without you!