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Farmer’s Markets Double Low Income Dollars

Mario Tama Getty Images News

If you’re craving something healthy to eat, you may have considered stopping at one of the local farmer’s markets in the area. The markets are growing in popularity and thanks to a new program more shoppers can now afford to go.

“This is a wonderful time of year. Every thing is just starting to arrive on the market. We have asparagus. We are just embarking on strawberry season. It’s all so exciting,” said Melissa Harrington, the manager for the Fulton Street Farmer’s Market in Grand Rapids.

WZZM-TV 13 reports that the large midday crowds leave no question about how popular the farmer’s market is. But until recently, many low-income families shied away from going there.

“When the food assistance program switched to electronic benefits on the Bridge Card, it essentially cut out all farmer’s markets that participated,” said Harrington, which added to the myth that farmer’s markets were too expensive for low income budgets. “So what we did here in 2009 is started accepting the Bridge Card.”

The market uses a token system which allows customers to use their Bridge Cards to pay for food. And this year, it is one of five local markets doubling the food bucks.

Harrington says “essentially when you arrive at the market you stop in the market office, decide what dollar amount you would like off you Bridge Card for food and we will match that dollar for dollar up to $20.”

Here is TV-13’s story.

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