Many local farmers’ markets in The Gorge are sponsoring programs this year to up your buying power of local produce. The Power of Produce (or PoP) Club is back in action. It offers free $2 tokens to kids from 0 to 12 years old in order to buy fresh fruits and veggies or plant starts. You can find a PoP Club at the Hood River Farmers Market, Mercado del Valle in Odell, Mosier Market, and The Dalles Saturday Market. Some of the markets run PoP Club on a first-come, first-served basis, so have your kids check-in at the info booth as soon as you arrive.
Also, nearly every Gorge market accepts SNAP (Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program), formerly Food Stamps. A number of the markets offer a $5 SNAP-Match for SNAP recipients each time you visit the market. Card-holders can swipe their SNAP card at the info booth and get $5 more in tokens to use at the market. These markets offer SNAP-Match: Hood River Farmers Market, Mercado del Valle, Mosier Market, The Dalles Saturday Market, Stevenson Farmer’s Market, and White Salmon Farmer’s Market.
Many markets also accept WIC vouchers. This means moms and their kids can enjoy tasty and healthy produce that is grown in our area. Some markets also match WIC vouchers like SNAP-Match.
All Farmers Markets in the Gorge also accept Veggie Rx Vouchers. These vouchers are given out by a handful of health clinics.
There is recent research from the Oregon Farmers’ Market Fund. It shows that if people redeemed just 1 percent of Hood River and Wasco County SNAP benefits at Gorge Farmer’s Markets, $120,664 would go back to local growers. Those are dollars that will keep our farmer’s growing tasty, healthy food. Now that’s some real buying power!
Would you like to know how to up your buying power, but have never shopped at a farmers’ market before? Check in at the info booth at any local market and tell them you want to know about SNAP-Match or receive a market tour. They’ll help you.
For a full list of local farmers’ markets check-out www.gorgegrown.com/resource/columbia-gorge-farmers-markets.cfm.
The mission of the Healthy Active Hood River County (HAHRC) Coalition is to make the healthy choice, the easy choice for all in Hood River County. We believe that when all people have access to affordable fresh fruits and veggies, the healthy choice is easier to make.
Healthy Active Hood River County (HAHRC) is our community healthy living coalition. We promote wellness through increased physical activity, healthy eating, tobacco use prevention, behavioral health, prevention of addictions and policy and environmental change. Join us at our next meeting July 26th, 11:30am to 1:00pm at Providence Hood River Hospital Boardroom.
Lauren Kraemer is HAHRC Co-Chair and Assistant Professor, Oregon State University Extension Service.