In celebration of National Farmers Market Week, leaders of Louisville’s local food movement today launched the Double Dollars program at four Louisville farmers’ markets.
The program matches SNAP customers’ spending, dollar for dollar, up to $20, and aims to make shopping at farmers’ market more affordable for residents receiving government assistance. For example, if a resident uses a SNAP card to make a $10 purchase, the program will match that $10, giving the resident a new total of $20 to spend at the farmers’ market.
“Local food is for everyone, regardless of who you are, where you live, or how much money you make,” said Mayor Greg Fischer. “I’m proud to have Double Dollars in our community and look forward to extending the program to additional farmers’ markets in our area.”
The Double Dollars program is funded by the Community Farm Alliance and is currently available at these farmers’ markets: Bardstown Road, Gray Street, Phoenix Hill and the newly opened South Pointe farmers’ market.
Using the program is simple. First, visit one of the four participating markets. Next, swipe the SNAP card for any dollar amount and receive wooden tokens, which will be matched dollar for dollar for the amount spent. Lastly, purchase healthy, locally grown, ready-to-eat items. Households can use Double Dollars to buy food intended to be prepared and eaten at home, such as breads and cereals, fruits and vegetables, honeys and jams, and meat and poultry.
“Making fresh, local produce affordable for those who are on a very limited budget pays back with a healthier community and a better quality of life for residents,” said Councilwoman Marianne Butler, District 15.
In Louisville, there are more than two dozen farmers’ markets operating during various times and days of the week.
“Public health is about creating conditions under which people can be healthy, and that is why we organize the weekly Gray Street Farmers Market,” said Craig Blakely, Ph.D., M.P.H., dean, University of Louisville School of Public Health and Information Sciences. “Farmers markets bring fresh, healthy foods into our neighborhoods. Our market has accepted SNAP benefits and Senior Farmers Market Nutrition Vouchers since 2010, and we are thankful to be recipients of the Double Dollars funding that will make healthy choices more affordable and accessible to members of our community.”
Buying locally produced food also helps dollars circulate locally, which is healthy for the economy. Local food travels fewer miles to be purchased, which means it’s healthier for the environment. Local food diversifies on-farm income, which means it’s healthier for agriculture and the future of Kentucky’s farm families. And local food unites communities, bridging rural and urban divides, which is healthy for the soul.
In addition to launching the Double Dollars program, the community this week celebrates the 25th anniversary of the original Bardstown Road farmers’ market, located at 1722 Bardstown Road.